The state of West Virginia had their teachers go on strike recently. It is the second time in a year these teachers have had to rise up against a system that was creating difficulty in their work.
Many of these teachers stepped out into cold weather, and stood with signs raising awareness in regards to a broken system. It was a hard decision for them to make, especially when they knew many kids who depend on them, had to stay home.
Obviously, this is not the only protest that has been occurring in our nation, as of late. There are people rising up to speak out against sexual abuse, racism, sexism, bigotry, religion, abortion, etc.
Although many are disturbed by the protests, I actually find it refreshing. It is pretty great to see people using their constitutional right to speak out and use their voice for change.
The only struggle I have, is when the protests move from peaceful and insightful, to petty and discouraging.
I feel like it has been easy for people to start name calling and using hateful words to speak against others. It is almost as if they lose their self in the process. They get caught up in making catchy phrases on poster board, that will point fingers and make individuals look bad, in turn it can take away from the very thing they are protesting.
For instance, when there is a group protesting against hate speech, but have pasteboards calling people who participate in hate speech, hateful names, it goes against everything they are trying to change. Protesting is great, but when the purpose is lost due to our emotions, it loses it’s power.
We celebrate protestors like Martin Luther King, Jr., not because of his harsh words pointing fingers at individuals, but for standing up and speaking truth into brokenness. He stood with peace, as he promoted peace, and pushed for social change.
We celebrate Nelson Mandela for his time he spent in prison, revealing a broken system. He stood against racism. He stood against oppression. He didn’t stoop to name calling to get his point across.
Gandhi is revered for his peaceful protests. He sat in a hunger strike. He never returned hate with hate. He spoke truth. He challenged those with power. He didn’t resort to their ways. He held firm to his convictions, without losing the purpose, nor himself.
So, how do we protest well? How do we stand against oppression and broken systems, without turning toward hate ourselves?
Perhaps it’s when we remember that our enemies, are humans too. They have families. They have emotions. They are broken, just like us. It may keep us from turning against our message, in order to tear them down.
We need to reflect on what it means to love our neighbor, as we love ourselves. Our neighbor may not be the greatest person in the world, but let’s face it, neither are we. We all have our sides that others can hate or take issue with. So, instead of name calling, stick to the issue, and spread love in the process.
I kind of like to lean on what Jesus said, but if you’re not a Jesus follower, listen to the wise words of Dalton (Patrick Swayze) in Roadhouse…
If somebody gets in your face and calls you a (bad name)*, I want you to be nice. Ask him to walk. Be nice. If he won’t walk, walk him. But be nice. If you can’t walk him, one of the others will help you, and you’ll both be nice. I want you to remember that it’s a job. It’s nothing personal.Dalton-Roadhouse
*Remember I am a pastor and this is a blog with a Christian perspective. I had to keep it clean.
[tweetshare tweet= “Be nice. It’s easy to look at the other side and feel justified in name calling, but it doesn’t do any good. Stand up for what is right. Be bold…Don’t lose yourself…in the process.” ]
Be nice. It’s easy to look at the other side and feel justified in name calling, but it doesn’t do any good. Stand up for what is right. Be bold. Speak truth. Do justly. Don’t lose yourself, or your purpose, in the process.
We are already over a week in to the New Year. Some may have already failed at their resolutions, some may have been rocking their goals, and others may still be waiting to decide what they want to do in the New Year.
No matter where you are, this list of things will assist you in making your New Year fantastic. In fact, it will help make the New Year fantastic for others around you, as well.
So, let’s get listing…
- Get Rid of the Negativity: This seems like such a simple statement, but let’s face it, negativity is all around us. Political unrest, community issues, job struggles, etc. All of these things, for the most part, are out of our control. However, what we do have control over, is how much of the negativity we let in to our lives. Be around people who speak positivity into your journey. Not “Yes Men”, but people who will encourage you to grow and challenge you to be better. Be with people who won’t bring you down with their naysaying and inability to find joy. A great way to make 2019 great, celebrate more, and don’t engage in overly pessimistic conversations. The year will be great this way.
- Be Kinder To Each Other: We need to be better at listening to people’s stories. We need to be better at practicing empathy. We need to be better at trying to understand other people. We cannot believe we are the only people going through hard times. Everyone is going through something in their life, and for many, they are losing hope in humanity. Perhaps, you could be the person who helps restore the hope that has been lost, due to your kindness and caring for who they are.
- Focus On Others: This may sound like number 2, but it isn’t. Actually, it will assist in the idea of being kinder, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be tied to it. This is a challenge in our selfie culture. We are all about what we look like, what we are eating, how our image is portrayed. We need to be more involved in the lives of other people. I don’t mean be nosey, and this is beyond just following them on the instatwitface, or social media for short. What I am saying is, sit with people around a table and care about your friend’s lives. Serve people who are different than you. Listen to personal stories, and try to view them from the lens of the person telling the story. Push your bias aside, and be present. It’s not about you, and that is hard, but focus on the other.
- Finally, Find Joy. We will face hard times this year. The Stock Market will go up and down. Jobs will be lost. Relationships will end. People will die. What if, you could still find joy in all of the struggle and pain? How? Don’t allow the pain to consume you and allow others into your journey. Friendship, community, and partnership are essential in this life. The people we do life with will either help us thrive, or cause us to die. When we let the right people into our hurt, instead of hiding our frustration and sorrow, we will find ways to release our pain in a positive way. The joy for 2019 will come when we are able to walk in harmony with each other, and know we have people we can count on. Joy is found through Jesus, but Jesus gave us companions and demonstrated friendship for a reason. We need each other, and we can experience joy together.
I truly hope this list will help you continue growing into a happy New Year. Let’s make 2019 great for each other.
Hey! I hope you had a great Thanksgiving!
I wanted to let you know about a great deal happening…RIGHT NOW!!!
Now, through November 26, you can get a $3 discount on any of the books available in my store! By using the offer code: MFM2018, you can access this offer!!
The first five books ordered will be signed! So act fast!
Right now is the time to order a book, or two…or five, for your friend, co-worker, or relative, who may need encouragement in their faith journey! It makes a great stocking stuffer!
Take advantage of this offer for your Christmas gifts…while it lasts!
Remember, YOU ARE MADE FOR MORE!!
Thanks for your support!
We live in a world that wants to tell you, you need to do something, to be something.
Well, maybe in order to do something worth while, we need to rest in the fact that we are already something, in the eyes of our Creator.
He has made you in His image. He has made you with purpose. He has given you life, so you can shine brightly, for His glory in the world.
Today, may you see your value. May you know your worth. May you believe that you were created in the image of God. You are His workmanship (Ephesians 2:10). Live like it!
Peace and blessings friends.
Well, here you are, beginning your final chapter in your high school career.
I remember this time fondly. I am reminded of the excitement I had pulling up to campus, knowing this was my last “first” day of school. I remember looking at my class schedule, and thinking, “Man, I have nothing to worry about…well, except pre-calculus.”
This is your time! This is where you make your exit.
The only thing you have to consider is, what will your exit look like?
Whether you believe it or not, the way you wrap up high school will have a larger influence than you might think.
Here’s a few thoughts to assist you in starting, and ending, your senior year strong, and leaving a positive impression that will last with others, but also for you…
1) BE POSITIVE: This may seem cliche, but for real, be positive. Don’t focus on negativity in the class or in the school. Try not to buy into the negative attitudes of others. Smile, I know that may seem lame, but seriously, smile. Smile at people. Smile for yourself. It makes you feel better too.
2) BE KIND: You don’t want to be remembered as a jerk. That’s it. So be kind. Don’t pick on other kids. Don’t be prideful. Remember what it was like to be the new kid on campus, and try to find one to befriend. It’s very simple.
3) BE YOU: Allow yourself to be, well, yourself. Quit trying to impress. Quit trying to fit in. I mean, the reality is you’re done, so there’s nothing to fit into. Be who you know you have wanted to be. You may or may not see most of these classmates again, and those you continue to be friends with, will know who you really are anyway, so might as well start living it.
4) BE A LISTENER: People will be trying to give you advice and help you think through your future decisions. Listen. Yes, you ultimately make your choice, but listen to those with experience. Don’t allow them to tell you what to do or not do, you own your decisions, but listen to their thoughts. You don’t know it all, I know that’s hard to hear, but you have a lot of growing to do, listen to those who have grown, or at least have grown more than you over time.
5) BE A PLANNER: This doesn’t necessarily mean making a plan for everything, but actually having a plan for something. Get a calendar and keep it. Don’t depend on your parents to control your calendar. When you get to college or the workforce, it is your responsibility to manage your schedule, so start now. Begin a financial plan. Budget your money. Start saving. Be wise in your spending. Begin planning for your future, and your finances play a major role in all of it. Plan well.
That’s it. There’s much more I can share, but these are five important ideas to work through, and focus on, to end your Senior year strong.
May you have a wonderful year and, may you end strong, as you get ready to begin your next chapter in life.
If you would like to think more about who you are, or what you’re made for, check out My book MADE FOR MORE, to be encouraged in your faith journey.
“Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.” (Matthew 18:32-35; NIV)
I feel bad for celebrities and politicians, well, let’s face it, they’re celebrities too.
The way their activities are under a microscope and put in front of the world to see. Especially with the rise of social media and cell phone cameras, nobody is safe.
Recently, many of these celebrities have been burned by their past. A large amount of them have flaws and have made disgusting and poor decisions, which are being brought to the forefront of the newsfeeds.
It is truly sad. Read More
I was watching a reality show with my wife the other night, I won’t say which one, but it was definitely about wealthy sisters who are involved in fashion and makeup.
Anyway, in this show, one of the sisters threw a party of some sort with a bunch of random rooms and mirrors. It seemed a bit overt the top, yet everyone there was so in shock and awe over the event.
As I watched the show, I was paying close attention to facial expressions and body language. So many of the people were celebrating the sister. They made it all seem wonderful and glorious.
The problem isn’t that they celebrated the party. It isn’t even the fact that they celebrated the sister’s work. Read More
One of the greatest joys I have as a pastor, is assisting people in their journey of faith, especially when it comes to seeking out who God has created them to be.
I have many conversations with individuals trying to understand their calling in life. They are navigating through heavy questions of passion, purpose, and desire. We pray together, and I encourage them to continue listening to God and following His lead. I also challenge them to truly search their heart to discover what God has placed in there to pursue.
Then, finally, I leave them with this question…
If God were to call you into a certain place, would your character be strong enough for it? Read More