A New Year Revolution

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A New Year’s resolution is often about coming to a resolution and declaring new hopes for the new year. Some diet, work out or even stop drinking Starbucks. All this because we seek something to resolve inside us. But life doesn’t resolve. We will never understand why… We will never have everything we want…

Life just doesn’t resolve. We will always have questions life will always present us with the Mistry, and there will always be wonder.

One thing you can be sure of is that you are anticipated, you are not an accident, you are revolutionary.

While many will seek to make resolutions that five & ten months down the road will be forgotten or lacked.

I’ve been there, many times we are not happy with the results of a new year resolution or may have not gotten the answers we’ve wanted. One thing you can do is be confident in who you are and what you were created to be.

I think instead of making temporary resolutions this year we can seek to become revolutionary beings in our actions.

The word revolution has a tainted past and can bring an unsettled feeling to many. The root for the word revolution is centered around revolving which is a constant ,oving and progression.

Resolution is about becoming complete. While revolution is about growing, progressing, and going forward. That is what this new year will be about you becoming a better you you becoming forgetting where you came from and not experiencing that again

Revolution isn’t as much about impacting but rather initiating.

Let us press on beyond the past, let’s move above the hurt and focus on being better people, to the world and to ourselves.

I often see many homeless men and women and people are aware of the need for change, but revolution isn’t brought by giving change but embracing change. Revolution happen in your life, in our world, in our communities by embracing change and moving forward.

I encourage you as this year ends and a new one begins not to seek resolution but to create revolution within yourself.

You are a Revolutionary.

Ricky Maye

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The Spirituality of Scooby Doo

Ricky Maye on Scooby Doo

Ricky Maye on Scooby Doo

The Spirituality of Scooby Doo

1969 was filled with heroes of all kinds. It was a year that was bigger than life. Superheroes of all kind ran rampant through all walks of life.

The Beatles were at their height. Man was on the moon for the first time and Music festivals including the infamous Woodstock brought in over 800,000 people together for causes bigger than themselves.

1969 was a year of brave, strong and innovative people shinning in front of a gazing world. Imaginations were being stretched and ordinary people were solving all the worlds’ problems. Or it seemed. This was a wide-eyed generation with many types of Superhero’s to watch.

1969 saw TV shows such as bewitched, Star Trek and The Avengers running through the minds of ordinary people watching at home on the couch.

Amongst all of these heavy hitters, a new show began its run on the airwaves. A revolutionary show that would showcase everyday people changing the world, the broken and fumbled kind of man solving problems, this indeed would be revolutionary in a time of superpowers, bigger than life figures and sci-fi shows. Scooby Doo aired for the first time on September 13th, 1969.

My friend Len Winneroski has coined the phrase Ordinary Weakling and I love its appeal and igniting flair. When we look at the spiritual life, for most of us it can be filled with such outlandish expectations and hopes. Personal and metaphorical obstacles that can rival the skyscrapers in some cities can often seem so big we find it hard to get out of the bed each morning.

The beauty of Scooby doo was the bravery of an ordinary group of people to deal with outlandish situations with no help from super powers, radioactive spiders or billionaire contraptions. That day in 1969 was the launch of a new trend in our world and I’d like to share a few things we can gain from this change in pace.

  • Superheroes are no longer chosen; they are everyday people that just embrace the world’s call for help.
  • You don’t need superpowers to be someone’s hero. 
  • You don’t need explosions and celebrations to save the day. 
  • More than anything. We learn that you do not win by force, violence or anger but by attention, friends and perseverance. 
  • A hero stands up to the villain in himself. 

Often the villain we learned in this year of 1969 in The Scooby Doo series wasn’t a mutated super human or a bred from birth personification of evil but a man that often looked just like us.

In the popular cases of Batman and Spiderman facing the demons inside each of themselves we also can relive those unmasking moments in Scooby Doo where it was someone just like them, it wasn’t an “evil”, it was a person.

Sometimes the biggest hindrance to a dream is that which is staring at us in the mirror. 

Maybe our greatest enemy isn’t the evil around us, but the evil inside us.

Below I am sharing a video from a great musician, Derek Webb with a song that ties perfectly into this topic.

Thanks for reading.

Ricky Maye

What does it really mean to Live Biblically?

bible-pagePeople often surprise me. That is to say I am often surprised by how people interact with other people.

This week was no different, with tensions surrounding the Supreme Court’s recent contemplations and multiple recent tragedies this week. I happened to witness a lively but very civil debate.

However while walking by I overheard the phrase, “you just need to live the Bible.”

Is it possible to live the Bible? If so than how do we go about living the Bible, or living biblically?

Living a phrase of the Bible can be damaging. Expressing the Bible in your own life can be life changing.

In our pick & choose society we can often forget that the Bible isn’t a book full of good phrases and suggestions on how to live.

It is the raw and unfiltered accounts of real men and women who were trying to live and know God in their culture.

The word Bible is a fairly new word in  the whole picture of history. The word the ancients often used to describe the words of God or the inspired words of God was scripture. The word Scripture is used all throughout the Bible and Old Testament books such as Daniel and the book of Psalms.  In Hebrew the word is כתב and is pronounced kathab, it means a record of things.

The Bible isn’t an account of broken people who become perfect and try to live in a certain standard. The Bible is a chance for us to see the unique paths people that people travel with God.

The Bible is an exposé, and gives us a look into what real spirituality is; a journey that for each person is unique and distinct to that person. The Bible is a raw look into different people from different cultures exploring what is means to follow God  and share that hope in their day.

I believe living Biblically is essential to a life of faith.

Living Biblically means embracing diverse roads, different journeys and celebrating uniqueness.

If we take living Biblically to mean a set agenda for everyone to live by, than we are no longer dealing with a divine inspired spirituality, we are dealing with  man made standards.

If that was the case living biblically would be…

Dashing little ones against stones.– Psalms 137:9

Having slaves. — Leviticus 25:44

I will not go on with the many Old and New Testament scriptures that would not be fit for today’s living. My hope is that you begin to see the Bible not as an explanation of God but as an exploration of God.

When a faith is bound by two covers, it’s a book. When faith is built on God it has no boundaries and no walls.

So let us live Biblically and embrace difficulty and rise up against injustice and destroy walls people put up around God.

What Jesus taught me about being an ass

6214666-jesus-journey-on-the-donkey“And saith unto them, Go your way into the village over against you: and as soon as ye be entered into it, ye shall find a colt tied, whereon never man sat; loose him, and bring him.
And if any man say unto you, Why do ye this? say ye that the Lord hath need of him; and straightway he will send him hither.
And they went their way, and found the colt tied by the door without in a place where two ways met; and they loose him.
And certain of them that stood there said unto them, What do ye, loosing the colt?”

Mark 11:2

We have an example of a God who would come bearing weakness and wearing brokenness. A God who came giving up his robe rather than wearing it. A God who sat in the dirt with a whore rather than on a throne, and ate with the scum. This is a God who needs me, even in my imperfection.

Heading into Passover Jesus called for a donkey to enter the city in.

In what I consider one of the Bibles most revealing and revolutionary statements Jesus says, “The Lord has need.”

Jesus has a need!

We receive a vital piece of information and insight into the person of Jesus by finding that he has a need for something and in that moment it is a need for a donkey.

As I’ve always taught and will continue to teach, the Bible has more layers and deeper meanings that will allow God to speak in a new way.

This story isn’t just about an ass that was an animal in the right place and right time to give the savior a ride though the city.

That colt is all of us; you and me. It is the story of a life bound and forgotten not being  experienced and one day a savior smiles upon him.

Why, because he has to make himself feel great? No. He has need.

He has need of a person tied down. He has need of that junky that has lost everything. He has need of that teen who feels like failure awaits every person she attempts to love.

This is one of the most powerful verses in scripture because it tells us why.

For God so loved…

But why?

Because he had need!

It’s exciting to me because this means Jesus wanted me with all my doubts.

Jesus wanted me even with all of my mess.

He wanted me with all my uncertainties and my insecurities. He has a need for me.

The gospel isn’t about winning souls; it’s about connecting an ass that is tied up to a savior who will liberate.

One thing I just have to say that I love about this scripture is that Jesus chooses the inexperienced donkey.

He didn’t want the donkey that traveled the land. He didn’t want a donkey who knew what it was like to carry a king. He wanted the donkey that was tied up and never ridden.

Some of the best people for the job will have never done the job.

Some of the best experience is the least experience.

The end of the verse reflects often what we see in our own lives as we begin something new.

As the disciples untied the colt and was about to bring it to Jesus as he asked, people questioned.

How many times have you wanted to start something, a business or even a career and the people around you seem to have all these questions.

Jesus had no incentive to question this colt, he just wanted to free it.

Don’t ever let your inexperience hinder you from dreaming. Out of your inexperience will come many blessings. You may be an ass with no experiance, no money and nothing looking up, But Jesus has need for you.

Struggling with Perfection

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“You shall be perfect with the LORD your God”
Deut 18:13

Man searches for perfection. God charges us with perfection. However perfection is not always what we think.

In the passage above, Moses commands us to be tamim (תָּמִים), or, “finished,” “complete,” or “perfect” before the LORD. This Hebrew word is not defined as ideal moral perfectionism but is defined as being thoroughly made or heading to a complete or wholeness.

The rabbi note that tamim is used to describe completed years (Gen. 47:18); healthy animal sacrifices (Lev. 22:21-22); nourishing vines (Ezek. 15:5); truthful speech (Amos 5:10); finished building projects (1 Kings 6:22); and even the fulfilled destruction of a people (Num. 14:33).
Jesus echoed this when He said, “Be perfect…” (Matt. 5:48).

Our definition of perfection is different than God’s definition of perfection.

Perfection is not in an action, but in an acceptance. An acceptance of the perfection you are pursuing in your life.

God created and did things that we would see as imperfect. Since perfection isn’t a standard but a labor, perfection will then look different for each person.

Perfection is not something to be obtained but something to be embraced.

I am no longer struggling with perfection.

I am no longer striving to be perfect.

I, me. I am thriving as a perfect, complete me.

Our Last Easter

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Our last Easter

With a handful of colored eggs and Jesus in a tomb on TV. I had the task of explaining Easter to my two year old.

If Easter is to offer a universal truth that goes beyond age and culture, then our celebration of Easter isn’t to be wrapped in atonement arguments or something as mundane as colored eggs and candy. My explanation couldn’t include the roots of 13 Century gods, bunnies or religion. It had to be bigger.

With this task ahead, I wanted to get rid of my theological assumptions and explanations and figure out what the Easter season means to me and my son.

Growing up I knew what it was like to fall; to be down.

Emotionally my childhood was spent very low. What often brought me back to the Jesus story was the notion of resurrection, and we are celebrating that around the world very soon. But how does a child understand resurrection?

I speak of resurrection not fully in the physical sense of rising from the dead. But the metaphorical idea of things not ending when it looks as if the end has come.

My two year old like many kids know what it’s like to fall or get hurt. He knows what it’s like to crash into a wall or two. He often knows what it’s like to be stopped in his tracks.

So we sat down last week and my explanation of Easter didn’t include bunnies or tombs but something he and I could relate to very easily.

I told him we would be celebrating possibilities and second chances.
You might find us eating candy, or painting eggs we may read some scriptures of the resurrection.

But most of all Easter at our house will be celebrating the timeless example of Jesus and that dead things, dead dreams, dead opportunities do not have to die. They can rise up.

How will your family be celebrating the Easter season this year?

An Undeserved Love

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—-
Mark 10:17-22

As Jesus started on His way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before Him. ‘Good teacher,’ he asked, ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life?’

‘Why do you call me good?’ Jesus answered. ‘No one is good – except God alone. you know the commandments: “You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honour your father and mother.”
‘Teacher,’ he declared, ‘all these I have kept since I was a boy.’
Jesus looked at him and loved him.
‘One thing you lack’, he said, ‘Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. The come, follow me.’
At this, the man’s face fell. he went away sad, because he had great wealth.
—-

A few months back I was visiting a church in a small suburb of Cincinnati. I was ushered around the church in a spur of the moment tour.

I was told how the building is a city landmark and of the recent remodeling and modernizing of the sanctuary and meeting areas.

At one point in my Christian life I would have listened attentively and gasped in exclamation of the work this church had completed. However my mind wandered as he spoke of the church only being able add genuine marble to walls and pillars as if they had failed somehow. The giant translucent cross on the stage was hand carved into one solid piece of precious stone and lit with color LED lights.

As he went over a small list of the remodeling and additions I couldn’t help but notice after living in this city for year I had never heard of it. Later I asked dozens of homeless individuals, children in foster care and others I work with. But no one had heard of it.

Jesus, being approached by this man we have dubbed “The Rich Young Ruler”, notices one thing at the forefront of the conversation. The mans definition of Good is very twisted. But even still he kept the law. He did what was written. He was successful.

Jesus told him he’s lacking something bigger; giving.

Most of you reading the beginning of this stood where I stood. We gathered a distaste for this church. I wanted to hate them. Money going into the walls (literally) and not into the community of where it’s needed.

What hit me was how Jesus reacted to his “wrongness.” He was wrong, he was lacking, and Jesus said so.

But what reaction do we see from Jesus?

Subtly it’s written, “Jesus looked at him and loved him.”

It’s easy to say we wanna love the misfits when we are misfits. But to extend our love to those of pious living, selfishness and hate… That is a true test of faith.

I walked out of that church that day and loved what they were creating. One thing they lacked, but I looked at them and loved them.

Rachel’s storm

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This week is the launch of Rachel Held Evans, A year of Biblical Womanhood.

I’ve had to pleasure of being able to speak with Rachel, support her and watch as she has engaged multitudes. Rachel Held Evans has a gift for starting conversations, however messy they may become, they always spark thought and insight.

As Rachel braves storms both literal and religious we can do a few things to help her.

1. The biggest thing you can do for any author is go to a store and buy the book on day one! Store sales will make a difference.

2. Share the book with your friends ( don’t forget to make note of her witty humor.)

3. Review the book. Not just Rachel’s, but any author or book you’ve read. Go to goodreads, Amazon, Etc and leave a review. It supports the author in amazing ways.

In addition to all of those, Rachel will undoubtably receive much backlash and criticism. Speak up for her intent and stand up for the message.

I hope that you support Rachel in her book launch but also the community of authors around her.

See ya
Ricky

What does it mean to follow Jesus?

Following Jesus, this Rabbi from Nazareth was of the utmost importance to these teens and young adults he called disciples, each of whom came from every existence at the time.

Some of these followers left family, some left lovers, others left jobs and some were rejected by the world around them. These men and women knew what it was like to be unwanted and alone.
At times, we see them exhibit that following Jesus was more important than funerals of family members, more important than having any possessions and more important than life itself. (Luke 9:61)
Following this Jesus was so important to these young men and women that they would neglect everything so that whatever Jesus was doing at the moment would be the one and only focus in their daily life.

I can make that statement fully confident that this was the mindset of many of Jesus’ followers.
I can see that same passion with teens from every denomination in Christianity.
But wait, I can also see the same passion with Buddhist, Muslim and Mormon followers. It’s limitless; the passion exhibited is something that seems to be universal and not exclusively tied to Christianity or followers of Jesus. We have even pondered how serial killers and cult leaders could also have similar dedication from their followers. So following Jesus must be about something more than just walking a similar path he did.
In fact, we see this passion in music scenes that have risen in the past such as Jazz, Hip-Hop, Hardcore and more. We have witnessed that all have followers that exhibit similar passion.

In these times of confusion, I love to dive into the wisdom that is the historical writings of Judaism. For me, the wisdom hidden in many early Jewish writings is a daily inspiration and guidance and more-so, knowing Jesus searched for the same wisdom in his life.
One of the Hebrew words used for following someone in the Torah, which is the name for some of the Jewish scriptures or the Christian Old Testament, means to follow after and carry something.
This is insightful and easy to pass over, as with much wisdom that presents itself in life.

When they spoke of following someone, it didn’t stop with following after someone but they insisted something would have to be carried. Following was not just about walking after someone.

The illustration we are beginning to see is that if someone follows a person or idea, they begin to carry what they are following or they begin to carry something the person they are following is carrying.

The Christian journey as it has evolved has also changed in its idea of what being a follower of Jesus really means.

I mean this not as an insult but an accountable observation. In our western churches, it’s often rare to see a church take place in a public place or common area.
Padded pews are a luxury of the Jesus follower of the past. We now have booming mega churches, media software that out-does most organizations, church brand coffee, bands that are composed of award winning musicians and sound systems that put arenas to shame.
Is this what Jesus had in mind when he said, “Come follow me”?

Are we carrying the same passion and call Jesus did when he walked the earth? Is his burden our burden?

Are you following Jesus empty handed?

Adapted from Barefoot Christianity coming next Tuesday!

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The leading Father (A Fathers Day Post)

The leading father

Since my early days in church I’ve often been told I had to relate to God as a father. I just couldn’t…

See, I never knew my father, he caused my mother horrible pain and left our family to fend for itself excelling us into a deeper poverty and depression.

Amongst all of this constant struggle just for daily food and hoping for shelter in the coming months as bills piled up, in church I was told to pray to God, my ABBA father.

That word ABBA was foreign to me. Not in the sense of the definition, I just didn’t know what it looked like in human form. In my mind I didn’t see much of a difference between God and a deadbeat father.

Over the past decade my thoughts have changed. Now I want to share with you some insight about real fathers. I hate to disappoint you but this blog won’t be specifically tied to God being our father, I think he has a message for you today.

One of the Hebraic words for Father is אמן and is pronounced ‘aman.

The definition beautifully brings to mind the prefect expression of what a father is and can be.

The definition for the Hebrew word for father is one who offers his right hand.

This word father here is more than a person who works, provides and loves. This word father is about a person who seeks to lead, guide and walk with you.

I’ve never had a father. But I have been very blessed in my childhood to have many men and women come into my life to lead me and take my hand while on this spiritual journey and this life journey.

My hope on this day when we celebrate fathers we include those mentors, spiritual fathers and all who have had a hand in leading someone.

I am convinced that God loves puns when reading the Bible, and this Hebrew word used for father is ‘aman…or as our English eyes might see it, A Man. A man is someone who leads. A man is an example. A man is a guide.

Happy Fathers day to all the fathers