The Good Far Outweighs the Bad

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It was within my first couple of months of ministry. In my 'amazing creativity' I came up with an idea for an obstacle course called "The Goliath" for our outside service called the Last Blast. It was a run through the woods with jumps, monkey bars and tires. Everyone seemed to love the idea. I was on cloud nine! I felt as though this really generated some enthusiasm and people really enjoyed it.....until sadly, someone got injured. One of our teens (at the time) fell off a monkey bar ladder obstacle (in retrospect, not very safe). Immediately the course is shut down, there's a crowd gathering and my 'amazing creative' idea was now 'a liability'. 

Earlier in the day, to start my 'cloud nine' feeling, I was blessed with this incredible memorable moment where I got to baptize my beautiful daughter, Sadie. I was so proud of her! Here she was at this young age, willing to go public with her faith in front of hundreds of people! What a moment! I was ecstatic! Fast forward 2 hours later, someone gets hurt and I'm deflated.

The ups and downs of this day taught me so much. First of all, this is life. This is life with Christ as well. Some of us feel as though once we accept Jesus into our hearts, life becomes easier. Not necessarily. Although deep down at our core I do believe it does. When we, as believers,  understand that through Christ this world is temporary and we have eternity to look forward to, it really should change our perspective. Our highs and lows in life are not forever and through them we learn so much.

Another thing I learned that day was the eternal outweighs the worldly. Yes, someone got hurt at this obstacle course and I did wonder if I'd lose my job or even if we'd face a lawsuit (the girl who fell is a sweetheart and handled things incredibly!) but the eternal perspective was that my daughter was just baptized! Although young, I truly felt and still do feel that she loves Jesus.  We all know that this is not easy today in a world that continues to push God away and wonders why this world is falling apart. 

Everyone of us should think with eternity in mind. Otherwise, life can certainly get you down.

Easter is coming! We get to celebrate a risen God....what other religion can boast this? A resurrected Savior! The Hope of the world. This Easter we also get to celebrate life change where others, like these pics show, go public with their faith and be baptized. There's reason to celebrate! 

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2 Corinthians 5:17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

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What decisions are you making today based on eternity? Is this Easter the time for you to make the best decision of your life and go public with your faith through baptism? 

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An Open Letter to Those Who Tried to Steal My Identity:

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Recently my identity was stolen and used. I have never experienced anything like this before. I would be lying if I didn’t say that I wasn’t mad....really mad. Then there was fear. How much did they get? I was also feeling violated. How far did they go?  So I decided to write them an open letter. Here it is:

To The Person(s) Who Stole My Identity,

First and foremost I would like you to know I forgive you!

This has been nothing short of a nightmare that I wish had never happened, however it did. As the smoked cleared and the dust had settled I had time to ponder what transpired. Let's start with time. It's the one thing you got from me that I will never get back. But I still forgive you. I'm starting to ask myself how could someone bring themselves to be this evil and ruthless. The answer that I got wasn’t one most would expect. You see I started to feel sorry for you. In fact, I am currently praying for you. Understand this, this praying for you wouldn't have happened years ago.  I didn’t always love the Lord like I do now. But thankfully, someone loved me enough to be praying for me. You see, you messed with the wrong guy here because I have an army of others that will be praying for you! Things are about to change for you. Jesus commands us to love our enemy and pray for the lost.

Matthew 5:44 “But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”

You and I aren’t that different, we are both sinners and Jesus can forgive you too. I want to believe that your intent wasn’t to harm or hurt me. I believe it was more just to get things that aren’t yours. If I don’t forgive you and continue to carry the anger towards you it will become like an anchor and I would be enslaved to it. That's certainly not appealing to me. I also don’t want to be a hypocrite. 

Matthew 6: 14   For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.

Trust me I have a lot to be forgiven for. So know this, I will probably never know what drives you, but know that you are loved and forgiven. I will probably never meet you but that’s ok too. I am praying for you to make better choices. God loves you as He loves me. One of my favorite verses is (and I am sure you see it a lot) John 3:16   For God so loved the world (that includes you) that he sent his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

So I’ll leave you with this. Don’t let yesterday keep you from doing today what can’t wait till tomorrow. 

Make better choices. Choose God and watch what happens. 


One Who Understands God's Love For People

Ed Hickman 



"I can never forgive them!" 

All of us have been hurt in some capacity. It seems as though everyone has a story of someone hurting them so bad they feel as though forgiveness may never come. In fact, I've heard many stories where I wondered just how they could even think of forgiving that person.......that is, until I realized how forgiven I am.

When someone hurts us (and they will!), we often hold onto resentment, bitterness and unforgiveness in our heart towards them. But if we want to truly experience freedom and healing from these feelings, then it starts with us handing all of that over to Jesus, the ultimate example of forgiveness. Many of you know the story: Upon Him being nailed to a cross, spit at, mocked, beaten, and ridiculed, He responds with, "Father, forgive them, for they don't know what they are doing." (Luke 23:34) That is crazy! 

I recently shared a story of myself (along with many friends in our neighborhood) dealing with sexual abuse by a pedophile in the late 70's. I would often look back with hate and anger when I think of this guy having the capability to do something so destructive. I share in the story of my mom's willingness to actually want to kill this man. Everyone was angry and we would all hold on to this for many many years. The holding on to it never helped, making me angry and making me question how something like this could happen. But what I learned later in my life was that true freedom can come to me (and you) when you choose to hand it over to Jesus. Sounds churchy, huh? But really, He is the ultimate judge and He will bring justice for everyone either at the cross or in eternity. In my effort of forgiving this guy, I had to look at a different angle: Just what happened to this person in his life where he is actually capable of doing something like this? 

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I am so excited for this Sunday at our church. My good friend, Jason Romano (pictured above with his Emmy, not mine) will be speaking on this topic of forgiveness. This is a guy who left a successful job at ESPN to go into ministry and serve God. I've heard so many people struggle with forgiveness and too many that are not even aware they struggle, "I FORGIVE THEM!!" Doesn't sound like it with that tone. 

If you are in Christ, then Jesus has forgiven you of your sins – past, present, and future – and He no longer holds them against you (Hebrews 10:17). Amazing! As followers of Christ, we should give people the same grace when they sin against us. This does not mean that we pretend like it didn’t happen. We still have to use wisdom and discernment as not provide people an opportunity to repetitively sin against us. We can, in fact, love from afar. 

Holding a grudge against someone will only end up hurting you more. It's been said, "Not forgiving someone is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die."

Join us this Sunday at Fellowship Church 9:00 and 10:30 to hear from Jason regarding this topic. His story is amazing. Because of our friendship, I knew a bit of the story, but when I read his book, Live to Forgive, I was shocked at just how much pain he had to endure and how amazing his faith was in taking him out of this unforgiving pit.