Jesus Christ

An Empty Chair This Holiday


I wrote this blog a while back but wanted to repost it based on the people around me who have had a horrible year, losing significant people in their lives and who will never to be the same. 

This holiday is different. There's an empty chair. It's not the same. 

Tradition constantly changes through death and birth. Each Christmas Eve we would go to my mom's after church service. When we had children, the stay wasn't as long. Then my mom died and Christmas Eve was never the same. New locations, new traditions, new people (babies), less people (death)...the cycle of life.

My heart truly goes out to all of you that have lost a loved one and have to go through these holidays without them. So many of you have lost grandparents, parents, children and friends recently. Many of you are still in a fog. The memories of the lost person multiply based on the shared memories of this season. It's extremely difficult to process this throughout the year, let alone the holidays! 

Some of you know of someone who is dealing with this right now. I want to encourage you to do all you can for those grieving this year. Reach out to them. Pray for them. Be there for them. Talk about their loss - the good memories you have or open the door for them to talk about it. Let's not tip toe around someone who is grieving. Let's love them. We cannot fathom what they are feeling. even if we also lost someone. Every hurt feels different. 

Most people (not all) want to talk about their loved one they lost. Most, based on my experience, do not want to go about their lives as if nothing happened. For us on the outside, that's the easy way. We can just "sweep it under the rug" and avoid a possibly emotional conversation. But that's not beneficial.  You can be different. You can help them in this process. Maybe you've been through this already-if that's the case, you're the perfect person to help them here. 

Before I lost my parents, I was not someone who helped others grieve. Some of it was because I didn't know what it felt like. I never experienced this type of loss before. Some of it, quite frankly, was selfishness. It didn't affect me so I didn't have to deal with it. Sorry, but that's who I was before Christ. 

So I leave you with this list of asks:

  • Remember those who have lost loved ones
  • Reach out to them
  • Encourage them
  • Be there for them
  • Talk to them about their loss
  • LOVE them

This will be a very difficult holiday season for too many. Let's do what we can to help them.

Most people are in need of a Christmas presence, not so much the Christmas presents.



The Most Political Blog Ever

Even as I write this, I am hesitant of the lens in which some will see it. I'll start by stating that the views expressed in this blog are solely mine, not necessarily Fellowship Church, although in my conversations with our staff and teams, there probably not far off.

None of us went to any classes or took courses regarding social media postings or texts. You do not have to have any degree or even be of a certain maturity in order to post anything (although many of us wish there were some guidelines!). We are all pretty free to post anything we'd like and some of us really take advantage! It's not like working at a newspaper and having to go through an editing team. You type it and BOOM, it's there for all to see and for all to have their opinion on. 

It's very interesting working at a church with many of our attenders here being on some social media. It's not uncommon for two of them to disagree where all can see. That's uncomfortable to me. I get it but I'm not very comfortable with it. 

What I've learned along the way is that what you say or post on your personal social media pages can reflect on your church unintentionally. "Oh, he or she thinks this and they go to FC. I'm not going there!" Can you imagine finding out that someone has left the church because of an opinion you had? 

I have a dear friend of mine who recently posted something that "got a little out of hand". There was a bunch of back and worth (wasted time), hurt feelings and it all stemmed from a misunderstood post. No one really knows where your heart is when putting something out there. There are assumptions and filters to which we see everything (fairly and unfairly). When I saw my friends post I knew I wanted to have a face to face with them. Not only is this person a friend but they are a leader as well. I met with them in person and talked it out. They saw my face. They knew my heart. There was no misunderstanding. We both left better. Face to face always lessens the possibility of a misunderstanding. 

For those of us that would consider ourselves Christians, our presence on social media really is an extension of our personal ministry. It can help or hinder our "influence". Influence here is not to build our ego, I actually mean kingdom building, telling others about Jesus Christ with our actions and yes, even our typed words. How often do you scroll past posts from those certain "Facebook friends" that you no longer wish to be influenced by or have your mood changed by? (You know you have them!) 

For me, I would never want my posts to affect the "influence" of the One I follow, Jesus Christ, my church or even my family. So I try to be careful. I try to see my post from other's eyes. My posts are honestly a highlight reel. Great wife, great family, always fun. I try not to take pictures or write posts of any arguments I got into, mistakes I've made or bad parenting days (plenty of them!). No, just the good stuff. I thought this is why there is a Facebook?!? "Best of" Rich Pancoast.

I would say when a desire to post arises, pray and keep it positive because your content is there forever. And if someone else's post offends you, DO NOT COMMENT underneath! It only lengthens the posts timeframe on your newsfeed.