Let Us Not Be Divided

The blog post One in Christ featured on Roses Near Running Waters, gave new insight today. Well, perhaps not that new but an age long plea. The blog post shared a wonderful verse:

“There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28)”

God has called all of his believers to be united in the name of Jesus. Let us not be divided! No matter what the religion and the differences in beliefs and traditions, all Christians believe in one true God and the God of salvation. God calls for unity of those who believe in him, and I am hoping that people will listen and understand that it is now more than ever that we need to be united in the name of Christ. I believe that what keeps us all divided is pride, we need to recognize this and set it aside. This should be so, so that we Christians, the warriors of Christ might begin our true purpose as servants and disciples of the Lord. The faith is waning and more people are tearing themselves away from our faith while we stand and watch doing nothing.

May God give us the strength to recognize our weakness, accept it, and correct it for the glory of God. Let us not be divided, we are so much stronger together.

Be A Christian of Actions Not Words

“In the history of the Church there have been two classes of Christians: Christians of words – those ‘Lord, Lord, Lord’ – and Christians of action, in truth.”  These words are from Pope Francis’ homily yesterday in the chapel of his residence, the Domus Sanctae Marthae. I found his message to be very fitting. I try my best to be a Christian of actions not words.

The most most important attributes of a Christian are caring for the needy and living one’s Christian values every day, not eloquence or a good command of words. We may witness to others about our faith through our words, but how we are living our lives is the most powerful testimony of our belief and love for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

We should strive each day to understand the word of God, the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Holy church so that we will be able to live out our faith fully–not just speak about it or live it out half-heartedly. So try your best to be a Christian of actions not words today, and every day moving forward.

If you want to read more about the Pope’s June 27, 2013 message, you can do so here: “Pope: Be careful you are not ‘masquerading’ as a Christian.”

Remembering What God Has Done For You in the Past

A question from a blog post titled, “Fan The Flame Friday,” inspired this post today. The question was: “Why is it so important to remember what God has done for us in the past?” Remembering what God has done for you is critical to being a Christian.

Humans have the propensity to forget about God and His goodness. Even the Israelites in the past who had a more close contact with God failed to remember him numerous times. The psalmist King David talked of this tendency in Psalm 78:10-11, “They kept not the covenant of God . . . and forgot his works, and his wonders that he had shewed them.” This very trait of the Israelites is one of the main reasons why they found themselves in a lot of perilous situations–why it took them over 40 years to reach the Promised Land.

Remembering what God has done for us is foundational for living the Christian life. Constantly recalling God’s blessings and deliverance in the past will help us keep our sense of awe and wonder of God’s greatness. By keeping a clear memory of what God did for us, we will be able to face every affliction that rises and say, “My God has helped my before, and he will do it again.”

We Are Serving A Great God!

No matter how faithful of a Christian you are, I believe that we have all experienced situations that made us feel incapable, despondent, and helpless. Even people and prophets in the Bible have gone through the toughest times. Take for example the life of Job, Daniel, and even the life of our Savior and his disciples were marred with great trials.

Being a Christian today is not an easy task. We are met with much adversity, but we must hold strong in our beliefs. As it is often said, trials can either separate or draw a Christian closer to God. I certainly hope it will do the latter to all of us.

Yes it can be difficult to remain focused on the goodness and promises of the Lord during tough times, but may we always remember the greatness of the God that we are serving. Help is always available to us–his children. Instead of facing your troubles on your own, put them all in God’s hands. Remember Apostle Paul’s counsel in Philippians 4:7, “Through him, even in the midst of terrible devastating and humiliating experiences we can have the peace, joy, and hope that passes all understanding.”

You can find more Bible verses that show of God’s greatness in this post: But God Can!

Being A Fashionable Christian Woman

Having been born and raised in a Catholic home home, I am well aware that the physical aspect of beauty should not be the highest priority of a Christian woman. I have always been in agreement to the notion that there are far more important elements than outward appearance that make up a truly beautiful woman.

However, I do not think that necessarily means that a Christian woman has to neglect her appearance.  I am glad to have found someone who shares the same thoughts. In her post, Fashion for Jesus, Katie of Catholic Sistas expresses how our appearance can help glorify God.

We should strive to develop our inner beauty as God’s word says: “It is your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful” (1 Peter 3:4-5). Nevertheless, I do not think it would be wrong to work on our outward beauty as well. As daughters of a King (Jesus Christ), we should try to look as such.

Advent: Emotions The Season Triggers Internally for Me

Advent should be a time when you feel reawakened. It is a sign that Christmas is coming and that means Christ’s birth. It is also a sign that another calendar year is ending. Have you accomplished what you thought you would? What are your goals for next year? These are the kind of thoughts that run through my mind at this time of year. It seems as though the spirit and happiness of Advent acts as an internal trigger for me as well. It makes me think of what I could do to be a better version of myself next year.

A recent post by The Catholic Writers Guild inspired my thoughts in this post. Their post titled Advent: The Call to Awaken as Catholics and Writers sent the same sort of message out. Advent is a truly special time of year that you should take some time to appreciate.

What does Advent make you feel?

Derek Rabelo: Inspirational Documentary to Release in 2013

I heard about the story of Derek Rabelo today a blind man whose dream was to surf Pipeline. There is a documentary coming out in 2013 about how he went about reaching his goal called Beyond Sight: The Derek Rabelo Story. The documentary was produced by Walking On Water Films a company founded by Bryan Jennings. The film is sure to be a very interesting look at a really inspirational story. Bryan Jennings has been quoted as saying, “I hope that when people see the movie the eyes of their hearts will be opened to Jesus Christ”. So be on the lookout for Beyond Sight: The Derek Rabelo Story sometime in 2013.

Read more about Derek Rabelo here: Blind Man Realizes Surfing Dream

Passion Conference Unites 22,000 Students

Over twenty thousand gathered together in an arena for the sake of hearing God’s message–and no, we’re not talking about a Jeremy Camp concert.  This year’s “Passion conference,” held in Atlanta, generated an audience of  22,000 college-aged persons all eager to share in their passage for Jesus.

According to CNN, the Passion movement was held for the sake of raising $500,000 to be donated to various charities, including  Compassion International, Hope International, Haiti Transformed, International Justice Mission, Bibles Unbound, World Made Flesh, Joint Aid Management, Cure International, Living Water International, and the Atlanta Mission and City of Refuge.  However, the final donation amount far exceeded expectations.  Post-conference, Pastor Louis Giglio announced, “The fact that 22,000 university-aged young people would journey to Atlanta and gather for the name of Jesus is staggering in and of itself,” he wrote. “But the fact that, as a result of His grace in their lives, they would pool their resources to the tune of $1.1 million to fund 10 local and global causes signifies a massive shift.”

In explaining the need for creating such an event as Passion Conference, Giglio explained, “Church was never meant to be an island of self-indulgence, but a missional community of Jesus-followers so in love with Him that they can do nothing else but carry His name to the world […] It is truly inspiring to see a generation that is so hungry for an authentic encounter with Jesus … one that exchanges consumer-driven Christ for Christ-centered obedience.”

More about the event can be learned here.

Interview with Lisa Hendey

Mother, wife, author, blogger — meet Lisa Hendey, the woman responsible for Catholicmom.com and The Handbook for Catholic Moms, and frequent contributor to Faith&Family.

Why did you write The Handbook for Catholic Moms?  Was there a particular inspiring moment or event that made you think “Hey, there’s a book here!”

I had been thinking about writing a book for a few years – we’ve had a very active Book Club on CatholicMom.com for ten years now, and that brought me into contact with many Catholic authors.  I always desired the experience of writing a book, but frankly I lacked the confidence and the time.  Busy moms will understand how daunting the thought of finding any quiet time to write can be.

But through the website I came into contact with Tom Grady, the head of my publisher Ave Maria Press.  Tom and I discussed the possibility of creating a book that would serve as a companion to the website.  I loved that conversation and felt inspired to take on the challenge.  I’m so happy I did!  It’s been an amazing experience, and I think we’ve been able to create a resource that can help and support many.

Even though your book is written as a handbook for Catholic Moms, who else could benefit from reading your book?

Honestly, some of the best feedback I’ve had on the book has come from men.  Of course, they won’t admit to it if you ask them!

The book is divided into four sections – heart, mind, body and soul.  In each section, I encourage the reader to invest the time, energy and effort to care for herself so that she can better care for her family, her community and our universal Church.  So many of the aspects of the book are relevant to anyone who’s looking to grow in faith and to develop themselves personally.

In the book, you discuss Catholic marriage commitments.  In your opinion, why is it so difficult for men and women to commit to anything today?

I think it’s a few things – first of all, we’re living in the “i” generation – information comes in small bits from so many angles.  We’re connected to so many things that sometimes it can be difficult to fully connect with any one thing – or even with any one person.   “Friend” has taken on a whole new context, and the way wecommunicate with one another is vastly different than it was in the past.

I also fear that we are raising a generation who may not fully comprehend the sacramental nature of marriage.  We parents really have to fully commit ourselves to our domestic churches – which means that we accept primary responsibility for the faith formation of our children, including modeling sacramental marriage for them.

As parents/mentors/friends/employers and employees/members of God’s family — with all the roles we assume throughout the day, many of us seem to have frayed edges and appear over-worked and stressed.  What is your “recipe for prioritizing” your life?  What works for you?

This is so true!  We’re pulled in so many different directions!  My own father, who always begins his day with quiet prayer time and physical fitness, modeled my “recipe” for me.  I try to begin and end my day with prayer.  I do my very best to be physically active most days of the week.  I fully throw myself into the work I do, because I love it with all my heart, but my family is my top priority after my relationship with God.  So some days that means not getting through most items on the “to do” list – but work will wait and my time with my family is too precious to put on hold.  It’s always an incredibly difficult balancing act, which makes prayer an even more component.

Catholic Mom has grown by leaps and bounds over the years.  Did you
envision this community as it has unfolded over the years?  Does it match with what your first pictured, how has it differed?  And what is next for Lisa Hendey?

I never could have imagined the ways in which the CatholicMom.com community would grow worldwide.  It’s truly amazing.  We now feature over one hundred contributors.  Our resources are downloaded in over 110 countries around the world.  We have the weekly Catholic Moments podcast and have begun video initiatives.  It’s all a work of the Holy Spirit and a very committed team of volunteers who have really become my “online parish”.  I simply sit back and marvel when I see what my little “hobby” has grown into.  But God is good, and He definitely has a plan for this apostolate, so He continues to provide what we need.

What’s next for me?  I am at work on a second book – a devotional based upon the lives of the saints.  I’m also enjoying the opportunities I’m having to speak at parishes, with faith groups and at conferences.  My husband and I recently launched our first son off to college, but I still have a teenager in my home so being a good wife and mom continues to be my highest professional priority.

Thanks for the opportunity to share my thoughts with your readers!

Thank you, Lisa!

PS: Here is a photo of Thomas with Lisa Hendy from Catholic Marketing Network in August 2010 

Big Church Day Out 2011 lineup announced!

Already scheming about how to spend that holiday gift cash?

The Big Church Day Out 2011 lineup has just been announced, so it’s a perfect time to start saving!

Tickets are fairly cheap, at around $75 for the two day event (and if you order now, it’s even cheaper thanks to the festival’s “early bird” special), the “expense” stemming from the fact that The Big Church Day Out 2011 takes place in the UK, and travel cost for some of us would increase the total cost significantly.

H0wever, airlines often offer cheaper flights if booked far in advance, and England in the springtime is gorgeous: the gardens are in bloom, the countryside grass is green, and it’s finally warm enough in London to walk around outside!

Plus, the festival tickets themselves are a steal!  Seventy-five dollars will get you access to a campsite, a church,a kid zone, a marketplace, and even a tea tent!

And of course, music!!  This year’s lineup inludes Toby Mac, Stuart Townend, Chris Tomlin, The David Crowder Band, and many more excellent artitsts.

The crowd last year was 25,000 strong, and the reception was outstanding.  One attendee proclaimed, “just the time of my life, really […] we left the day united, happy and focused.”