How to be Genuine in a moving World

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This above all:
To thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.

 – Hamlet, Shakespeare

 

In a self help ran world, we are often told that the best way to be ourselves is to copy someone else’s road for success or to look like someone else or even have a similar lifestyle as someone. Their goals cannot be your goals. Their success is not your finish line.

What if life is more than searching for identity through someone else’s eyes?

We love to follow trends, whether it is weight loss or styles. We are constantly changing. Adapting and evolving is great until we begin to talk about who you are.

You are you, that is all you will ever be. You can try to change that and you will always feel empty and “never good enough” because you are trying to change something that just can’t change.

The word Genuine comes from the word Genu which means “Knee” it is derived from a cultural tradition in the 1600s in which the father would place a child on his knee to publicly acknowledge his child. In doing this, it was a public affirmation of who they were.

Being happy isn’t about reaching a goal. Fulfillment only comes through acceptance of who you’ve always been.

The roots of the word Genuine allude to birth and ownership of paternity.

Your Identity is not in who you can be. But It is in who you’ve always been. There is no secret to being you other than waking up in your own skin.

So to your own self, Be okay, Be secure and above all else, Be you.

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Jesus is Coming Back Today: A Candid Easter and Death Reflection

Jesus is coming back Today!

I must admit, I never saw myself posting about the coming of Jesus. Despite my years of Eschatology study a decade ago I still didn’t see it.

I grew up in fundamental churches and went on to more non-denominational churches later in life. I’ve been in Southern Baptist pews and Mega Church padded seats and heard the same message alike, “Jesus is coming! Be Ready!”

My thought was always leaning more towards Jesus saying that no man could predict the time or day of his return. So that was my way of dismissing having to deal with his return.

Many of you have known me or read my writing for a while and know that I stepped away from the church for a long time. I distanced myself and have taken some time in the past away to let God speak for himself. My beliefs are strong and have changed a little bit since those days. However with that said I stay strong in my faith and core beliefs that have stood the test of time and culture.

My mother suddenly collapsed at my house and a week later passed away. Now with her birthday passing and Easter among us, it has made me contemplate the return of Jesus more than ever. I believe it’s vital to this good news we are to proclaim. I believe that Jesus returning is primary to spiritual maturity. So yes, now I am a “Jesus coming back guy”, however I may have to explain what I mean by that.

When is Jesus coming back? Well… he’s that Grieving family at the hospital. That single mother. That man or women in recovery. That unaccepted son or daughter.

I’ve learned to ask not when Jesus is coming back. But what will he look like when I see him.

See because Jesus did often teach about coming back, but his message wasn’t always one of apocalypse, hell and Kirk Cameron. Often he spoke of coming back as a memory. As a person in need, a prisoner, even a widow or orphan.

The writings of Matthew give us a great first hand example from Jesus himself.

“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

“He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

Yes, Jesus taught about coming to him and experiencing him but one of the most prominent ways he spoke of doing that was us being Jesus to those who need it in the way they need.

So, when is Jesus coming back? How bout you decide 🙂

7 Things I Want To Teach My Kids About Spirituality

Image7 Things I want to teach my kids about Spirituality.

Often I think, the last thing the Internet and blogosphere need is another list. There are always special cases where the words and insights bring us into alignment. Today was my birthday and I received a few emails reminding me to reflect. Well I did, and as always a little too much but I though about my life and what I wanted to share with my kids. Something bigger than morals, something larger than words and books. I want to be able to share with them something that can not be captured in a doctrine but explodes with relevancy.

7. Sex
Sex is one of the most spiritual acts that you can participate in. You are valuable, treasured, and you do not need a purity ring or a “true love waits” commitment card to find value within yourself and your sexuality. Since the days when I was a child growing up, all I can remember being taught about sex was that bad things happen when someone has sex. I wasn’t taught that sex and my sexuality was something to be valued and treasured.

I remember reading a book called “Kissing Dating Goodbye” from a guy who I couldn’t for the life of me understand why he couldn’t have any girl he wanted.  Being taught about not dating from a handsome guy is like being taught about poverty from a rich man.

6.  Love
Oh I know this one was predictable, but the word Love is used over 500 times in the English Bible. The Qur’an uses the word Love almost 70 times. Whether it is the Greeks Agape or the Middle Easts Hubb or even the French’s Amour, we are encaptured by the need to be loved and give love.

Leonardo Da Vinci said, “Life without love is no life at all.”
Shakespeare Pleaded that we, “Love all…”
Jesus said, “Let me give you a new command: Love” The Message

Despite our many obvious and veiled differences, we all have the same passion for love in our lives. A baby reaches out with love to a mother it only unconsciously knows. We open a book in search of love. Music, speaking, plays, etc all bring feelings of love. Love, I think is the one thing that is beyond our verbal boundaries of expression.

We must take this Biblical love literally or we cannot take anything literally.

5. Paths
There may indeed be one answer, one way, and one God but one piece of wisdom I’ve gained is that God may use many different paths, methods, and ways to bring people to himself.
But Paths are tricky. See paths can have obstacles and unseen hindrances. And no matter what path you take, you will undoubtedly face turmoil and pain on each path.
My hope for my children, and all those reading this is that while on these many different paths you travel, you exercise patience, grace and love.

4. God is Good
Throughout Churches,I’ve heard one consistent phrase since I was young, and this phrase wasn’t hindered by denominational factions. Southern Baptist though episcopal-all the way through the progressive, I heard the Phrase, “God is Good, and all the time God is Good.” I love this phrase probably for different reasons than many. I believe it’s meant as an exclamation of God’s goodness towards our lives. I want to teach my kids that above all else, “God is Good.” He is goodness, good things,and good hopes. In every bit of goodness is an opportunity to experience God.

It is not just a phrase to say, but something to experience everyday.

3.  Heaven and Hell
Hear me out on this one. I know we are treading some thin lines. But for my kids, I want them to know that one thing the Bible teaches consistently throughout its covers is this concept of a Heaven and a Hell. Definitions, locations, and interpretations can cloud what I think is the real beauty of the reality of a Heaven and Hell idea for Christians and non-Christians alike. (I am using the words Heaven and Hell loosely since few times are they mentioned in the same manner and objective in the scriptures. I am using the modern words as a pointer to a bigger but mainstream concept that we have of Heaven and Hell.)

The reality of Heaven and Hell brings to the surface the intense revelation that this moment – this life is about more than just this moment. It’s about more than just this life.

Life, it is more than just you. It gives us the revolutionary realization that this moment is more important than we might think because it can affect myself or someone else down the road. My struggles can be my generational burden.

Whether or not our beliefs and doctrines of Heaven and Hell match,  the literary descriptions, or are even all on the same page, we can find a muse to be more conscious of our actions and deeds. If we live with heaven in mind, we’ll see heaven in our sight.

The notion of Heaven and Hell is somewhat of a reminder for everyone that this day, no matter how bad it may be, has an ending. That in every moment there is a choice to be made; to do good or not.
2.  God Loves Religion
Religion often gets a bad rap, sometimes understandably so. The news is often so crowded with the stories of abuse and harm that we don’t get to hear the good being done in the names of many god’s spiritual leaders and religions. I am a believer that God loves religion. The Bible gives us a clear statement on what kind of religion pleases God.

James 1:27 Religion that God accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

I think that we can misinterpret what God wants us to be zealous about. It’s not a book, persona, or building. It is people.

In our day of equal rights, mentoring, and giving we can all agree this is the type of religion we need to be focused on. If religion is to be, than it should be an example of charity and assistance. This should be the focus of everyday expressions of God and belief.

Religion is what we would call a tool that assists in connecting us with what we cannot explain. As with anything religion can be perverted. But if you are religious about anything, be religious about serving and loving.

1. Miracles

I spent the past two years visiting over 200 churches while working on a new book and a journey of what I called My Spiritual Re-discovery. In the majority of the churches they spoke about miracles being an essential part of the Life of Jesus. I agree. I think often the biggest miracles of Christ went under shadowed by the more talked about happenings.

This is something I’ve always agreed with. However, my view of a miracle is a little different than what I’ve seen in many churches.

In the Biblical book of Luke, we get a clear description from Jesus himself as to why he was here and what he was focusing on.

“…to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed” – Jesus

Jesus had a different view of miracles than I see in many churches today. He repeatedly told the people, “See that no one knows about this.” Matthew 9:31

What if the real miracles were the forgotten teens Jesus mentored whom we now call disciples? What if the real miracles were the times he served and gave of himself?

I believe Miracles should be a daily part of this life journey we are on. It’s not necessarily a blind man being given sight or the dead being raised. Often times it will be needs being met, service being offered, and assistance with burdens.

You can be someone’s miracle today.

What makes the Bible special is that it isn’t a record of God, because God cannot be contained between two covers and some ink. What ultimately makes the Bible special is that it has the ability to tell the story of the reader, and is as unique to each person as the hair on their head.

What I am saying is, instead of us often taking what the Bible says seriously, we should take what it’s saying to each one of us seriously.

A Journey begins with a single step

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A step is often underestimated. It seems so simple and constant that we begin to pass over the significance of each step coming and even the after effects of that step. Repercussions are rarely considered when taking a step. A step taken is often the least thought about move we make all day, but the most consequential.

It is a step that takes us into that storefront we might one day own. It is a step that connects you to your lifetime partner. It is a step that will begin your journey into your career. It is that step that leads that dance that still brings you to tears.

That simple step, that tiny seemingly insignificant step, is the tipping point to a greater moment.

Mathematicians believe the average person (one who commutes in a vehicle) takes from 5,000 to 8,000 steps in each day.

During those 5,000 to 8,000 steps, we walk into trouble, triumph and tears. This half a second move of the foot in a forward motion can bring you into a better life or help usher you into a bad situation.

In a lifetime, it is estimated that the average person takes somewhere near 136,875,000 steps. In those steps, it’s decided to fail or succeed. In those steps lie the courage to take another step and another.

Your journey begins with the step you take not the words you say.

Your journey will be defined by the steps you take not the words you say or the things you believe. I can firmly say that a change will be ushered in through a single step in a new direction. All it will take is a step to begin.

A Journey begins with a single Step

Contest

Through the month of April I will be doing a Contest for free shirts and other products. I will choose the winners at the end of April. All you have to do is upload a photo that captures your journey onto your favorite social media account. Use the quote “A journey begins with a single step.” #Rickymaye

Wrestling with God

I sat down with Scott Blair and the wrestling with God podcast. Give it a listen.

Lots of new stuff coming up. Stay tuned in.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/wwg-episode-5-interview-christian/id643511551?i=159693240&mt=2

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Resurrection

Jesus Empty tomb

Death is the one time we see Jesus angry in one situation and tearful in another. Death for all even God is a powerful occurrence.

He responded to one of his disciples, “Let the dead bury themselves…” (Matt 8:22) when a young follower needed to go to a family funeral, Jesus was angry because other business had to be taken care of at that moment.

In another incident Jesus was approached by two sisters who had a history with him; Mary and Martha. Their brother Lazarus was lying dead in a tomb and they needed the help of Jesus. (John 11)

A pause follows, and then we read that Jesus wept, simply and shortly said, but powerfully visual (John 11:35) this thing called death even brought Jesus to tears.

When I hear that vibrant “come forth” for Lazarus to rise out of that tomb from the lips of a trembling Jesus, I personally hear, come forth dead dreams, dead hopes. Maybe Jesus was trying to hint at something bigger than just physical death. He being God would have been familiar with death and departure.

I am defined by what I overcome.

Jesus taught that we, yes you, and even me, we can overcome this death. Because I’ve died, I’ve woken up and I’ve felt so dead some mornings and with some unexpected blessing Life comes out of nowhere.

This week we have heard much about death and even Jesus resurrecting. Often in my teaching I quote Paul in his principle of an often spiritual and physical meaning in many things. Many of the acts of Jesus are not unavoidable instances but certain solid statements. The cross was a statement. The resurrection was a statement for each and everyone of us. The resurrection was not about death is was about Life.

I can go on all day about life because I’ve experienced death, death is not who I am, I have overcome death, and I am overcoming death every day.

Death cannot stop you, depression cannot stop you. Life is promised to you.

In the Christian life we will view death as less of an unexpected occurrence and more of an opportunity for Life.

Death is an opportunity for God to bring back things that have died and bring life again.

Those unfinished classes.

That business.

That record.

That book.

I’m sure you’ve had some dead things in your life and maybe still have some dead things. But today is a reminder that dead is no longer the end. Jesus proved to us that death does not have the last word. Go and experience life this week.

Scars

Scars can be painful, what I mean to say is that scars can ultimately be full of pain, even after the incident occurs.
Scars don’t solve, they usually are prone to bring more questions to the surface. Scars don’t resolve, they often offer more confusion, and the questions begin to follow.
Why me?
Why not him or her, or them?
Or even why, just why?
What often happens is that a scar or event can become part of our physical, spiritual or emotional makeup. We let this tragic event in so much that it becomes part of us. That ugly event, that moment of hurt is now a part of you.
I love the phrase, “light of the world.” I do however think it is a little lost on this society. The light of the world isn’t a lamp or light. (Matt 5:14)
What is it that lights up the world? Stars. Stars light up the natural sky and the world around us. Stars would have been the light of the world.
Stars are made from gaseous explosions and collisions of elements. What we are looking at are bruises of the universe. We are gazing at the travail of the worlds around us.
Let me put it this way, stars are the scars of the universe.
A star is the result of something that couldn’t make it, couldn’t contain itself so it combusted; stars are the wounds of the worlds.
Just as these stars that surround us I bet you have some scars, some physical, some spiritual, some mental and some emotional.
My arms are filled with visual reminders of the physical pain I inflicted on myself in my teen years, over 15 years later they are still there for the world to see. I used to cover my arms, I used to be ashamed but now I have a beautiful story of triumph and overcoming to tell. My scars contribute to my beauty.
You and the wounds you carry are very much like those stars we stare at, I would challenge you to think twice about the way you look at your own scars. There can indeed be beauty in devastation.
We don’t look at the stars in the universe and say how tragic they are, how bruised they are, even though that is what they are. We look at them and speak of the beauty they contain. The inspiration they give us.

Even though stars are the scars of the universe we don’t see them as these broken pieces of gaseous matter, we see them as these majestic astrological blessings that give hope to billions.

What if you saw yourself in that same light, or better yet what if you saw others in a similar way; beautiful despite…? Or as Jesus calls each one of us to shine, inspire and offer light, despite….

–Taken from Ricky’s new book Barefoot Christianity available now wherever books are sold.