Journeying by the Power Of the Holy Spirit with Christ toward Restoration to Life with God
Author: Christy Clark
I am, as you are, part of God’s great story. Writing is my way of putting voice to the chapters of my story. I wrote my first little story in Braille in elementary and have loved writing poetry, articles, short stories and even newsletters ever since. I have always had the feeling I should write a book, but no idea has quite solidified yet. Should I write an autobiography, creative nonfiction, the first Systematic Theology Text by a Black female Methodist? What?? Time to try my hand at blogging!
So, as you know by now, my name is Christy! I am a mother to Shaun, who is 11. I am married to my high school sweetheart and we have a Terrior Puppy! All of us are life-long Californians!
Vocationallly, I am Minister Of Children, Youth & Young Families with Saint Mar, Los Angeles. Concurrently, I am working toward ordination in the United Methodist Church as an Ordained Deacon, called to word, service, justice and compassion ministries. As our children, youth and families grow in faith and receive the vital nurture they need to thrive, they will take their stories out into the street and be the bridge to Christ for a broken world who so strongly needs hope, love and healing. My Master’s In Divinity (M.Div.) from Fuller Theological Seminary (2015) and B.A. in Collaborative Health, Human Services and Public Policy/Social Work reflect my conviction that the Child Welfare System and policies of our nation must be overhauled and our children must be protected and defended and the church has a key role in making sure this work is done.
Much of my childhood was spent in foster care, and so I am dedicated to being the light especially for at-risk youth and young adult populations, but also for all of those whom God sends my way. In 1985 at the age of three, I lost my vision and I’m to this day partially sighted, so I also have a special need to serve as a light for those with physical disabilities who the world often pities and/or shuns. We give lip service to justice for all, including children, the disabled, people o( all sexual orientations and races, but this is not the reality in many cases. So, the fight is going strong for social, political economic and all other forms of justice in the world.
For this, my first blogging attempt, I will journey through Lent with you. Starting Wednesday, which is Ash Wednesday, and leading up to Easter, which falls on April 21 this year, I will post daily on my journey to the cross with Christ and you all. I post pretty regularly on Facebook and Instagram anyway and figure it is time to try my hand at blogging. This is also a spiritual discipline and a way to hold myself accountable to daily reflection on journeying with Christ. My goal is to provide you with solidarity, resources, which will help you along your journey and have a lot of fun in the process. I hope to hear from you as to what you think, what would be more helpful for you, and any prayer requests you may have. May God bless you today and always. Shalom! Thank
I confess you as my Lord and Savior, and yet I continue to worry as if you were not. That anxiety continues to be a thorn in my side. I cannot deal with life, this ministry, this parenting thing without you. I know that you are with me; I am not alone. I am struggling to feel worthy, equipped and valued. This shows a lack of faith, because you said I have been created in your image and beloved and I feel like in a real way I reject this assurance. For all my sin, I repent.
Thank you for your patience, wisdom and grace.
Thank you for my family and friends.
Thank you for women’s Bible Study and wise women to learn from and grow wit.
Thank you for everyone reading this blog.
Thank you for the gift of languages.
Please forgive me and continue to mold me into who I am called to be. Please give us the victory as we, in small and large ways, fight for justice, love mercy and to serve with you and all of your children with compassion And grace. For this walk to the cross and beyond, I need an extra dose of your Spirit. And now, please grant a peaceful, restful and Rejuvenating night. May all of the workers of your field wake up in the morning ready and excited for the day ahead. Please grant us your energy and your light so that we can shine for you. In Jesus name I pray, amen!
Greetings of peace and joy! Now, before I get to five of my favorite apps on the journey through LENT, and pretty much any other season, I have a question.
Can anyone tell me why WordPress seems to have me in a time zone in a different country! I’m in California. Today is still Tuesday, but I think WordPress says it’s about 7 o’clock tomorrow morning. Anyway! It’s just been something bugging me and I can’t figure it out even though I turned on location services, so if you know, let me know.
Okay, now to the point of today’s blog post. Here are five apps, most of which I’ve used for years and all of which I like a lot! There are so many threats and risks associated with the strength and variety of technology we have these days, but technology is a blessing, and like all things, it is one people have chosen to abuse in many cases.
What are some apps you wouldn’t want to live without?
i have had this free app for years, and I still enjoy listening to the dramatized Bible on it even though through Audible I found a versiont narrated by famous actors and actresses. It’s part nostalgia I suppose. They also have an app for kids, which is cool!
This may be my most used app. Of course, you can listen to the Bible if you purchased one of the additions. They have all of the books! I listen to personal development, vocational/professional development, fiction and nonfiction, theology and devotional texts and so much more! Of course, I have my favorite narrator including Sandra Burr and Kristine Hvan. My son, husband and I have listened to the entire Harry Potter series a countless number of times. Come on, you have to! Even if not, I’m sure there something you have listened to or read it over and over again.
Part of being successful in a insanely sighted world is being able to locate and utilize the tools, which make vision possible. For me, it’s always been technology. I used to have handheld magnifier’s and then chargeable magnifiers and desktop magnifiers call the CCTV. Now, even if it requires that you carry around a portable charger to recharge your iPhone, they have the high-power magnifiers right in the App Store. How awesome is that! Of course, the flashlight attached comes in handy. There are no words to express how helpful it is to have a magnifier so small and portable and lightweight enough. It is helpful not to have one more device I have to carry around, especially since I’d probably be the stereotypical person who would lose their head if it wasn’t attached to their shoulders. This is the best one I have found since they discontinued the one I was using for years.
This is how I relax. Coming up with words is pretty simple when compared to all the other myriad of decisions we have to make every day. So, perhaps not I will find this earth shattering really exciting, but the wordists amongst us will probably get it! No pressure, play at your own rate or speed, or play with friends, which I don’t usually do.
Last year, I read a book (right???? Big suppressed eyes! LOL) called The Artist Way. In that book, the author encourages creativity. The premise is there is an artist in all of us no matter how technical or stuffy Our jobs might be or our lives might be, we have an artist child with interest. So, she encouraged us to find an outlet we loved. I have always loved Photography. I love music. I love collage is. So, with this app I could combine all three of those, which was really and is really great! So, I, of course, would recommend this app along with any and all of the others on this short list.
I’m Out TIL Tomorrow
As we enter the second half of the Lenten season, I pray that you have an outlet that helps keep the stress away, brings moments of peace and joy into your life, and draws you closer to God and the appreciation of God’s creation. Take care until next time!
blessed fourth week of Lent! I participate in worship leadership weekly, yet only have the honor and joy of preaching a few times a year. I am Minister Of.Children, Youth & Young Families, I usually deliver the Pastoral Prayer and then spend the balance of service making sure our young people are fully engaged in service. This is when I make the scripture activities such as Bible Bingo, and sometimes questions they can answer while listening to the sermon (most usually delivered by Rev. Gary Bernard Williams). Since yesterday was one of those rare days, I decided to take the opportunity to share with you some of what I would’ve shared with my congregation. The link to the MP4 with one of my favorite worship songs (no, I am not singing) and my message are in a link below. I welcome you to listen to that and let me know what you think.
Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David. See, I have made him a witness to the peoples, a ruler and commander of the peoples. Surely you will summon nations you know not, and nations you do not know will come running to you, because of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has endowed you with splendor.” Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon. ‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts’
God is inviting Israel in the eighth century BC to re-enter the Promise Land into remain focused on what is good, pure, life-giving and nurturing. Babylon had been their prison, and much as consumer culture has enthralled billions today, so many of them were inthralled with the idolatry and earthly markers of success of their place and time. Currency and resources were spent on buying and possessing.
Today, we spend money and resources on buying more and more, and on more and more of what will, in the end, kill us, such as junk food instead of healthy food. While all die in the end, there is quality of life to consider highly. We export unhealthy food to those who usually would have eaten from the crops of local farms, and many of our inner-city people have easier and more affordable access to what I called Mess then to the nutrients needed for optimum spiritual, physical and intellectual health. In this section, I quote it from the world health organization and sojourners magazine as well as usin insights gleamed from other theological sources.
My sermon wis about Repentance for individual and collective sin toward God, which is inextricably connected two how we treat each other including the most vulnerable amongst us. We are conversely invited to the table of God where Grace is free, Jesus has already paid for everything on our behalf and everything we consume is good. This is a call and invitation for the church to be hospitable as well, because the church is here as a light on the hill and a foretaste of the Kingdom. Everything else in the message goes back to this core truth. God said come and Jesus continues through the power of the Holy Spirit to say come. By extension, Jesus’ disciples say come to all of those who need to taste and see that the Lord is good.
There is so much mess and clutter in the world. We look for our keys. My son, for one, can’t find his backpack most mornings. We seek approval, acceptance, success and all the rest. Nothings inherently wrong with any of that as long as we remember to seek God first. So, God reminds Israel to seek God in everything they do and that will ensure that they will prosper in the land. They’ve received this message before, but maybe this time it’ll stick. Well, we’re still working on seeking God first. Let us never give up and seeking God first and seeking to do what is right and just.
Guilt is not what God wants from us:
God simply wants us to Repent which is return to God and endeavor to change. This change is possible when we seek true transformation and pray and obey. Lent is a special dedicated opportunity to clean out, rebuild, recommit, and accept God’ invitations to come to the banquet. It is risky. It requires we sit next to people we usually might not sit next to. It requires we admit we have fallen short, which is a hard thing to do. It means excepting we are not the center of anyone’s universe. It means saying no at times to what we really want. The awards, on the other hand, cannot be counted.
If nothing else, being asked to trust God is the most countercultural principle of all. I think, if we could trust God, then the rest of this would probably be easier. I definitely have my moments and those moments definitely need to be repented for. Repentance is the process and practice of emptying out that mess at the cross and making room for abundance. No, not an end to suffering or even hunger, but it opens us to blessings beyond anything imaginable.
We have to choose and constantly make the decision to trust. Faith is something given to us as a gift and when we don’t have it, we pray for it until we do.
As we continue on this journey to the cross and beyond, I pray that you find your faith, that if you have an abundance of faith you keep it and share it. Share your story! Share your savior!
The message can be heard by clicking the link below.
Peace and joy to you! We are approaching the fourth week of Lent! How is it going? As John Wesley would ask, how was it with your soul?
I’ve been blessed to spend the day looking at Isaiah and the prophets and meditating on the word, so my soul is at peace. There still some anxiety, yet faith wins today! They by day!
Joy, Spirit deep joy comes only once spirit/soul deep repentance has happened. Repentance revitalizes, refreshes and returns us to God. So, as I continue to get ready for Sunday’s sermon on Isaiah 55:1-9, where the message will be on delighting in and indulging in food and water from heaven which nourishes, I invite us all to repent in order to make room for rejoice! God bless and happy weekend!
Lord, fill us up and make us whole so that we want no other! Amen!
Engagement anniversaries may not count for most after nearly 12 years of marriage, but we still count.
Marlon and I started dating when I was still in high school. I love him so much and thank God constantly for him. We have a life together I never thought to have and a son together I didn’t know I wanted to have. Now, I know life would be so bleak without them. Thank God for my partner on the journey, Marlon.
Marriage is a bond and promise. It is frustrating and joyful. All of our experiences make us, bring us closer to each other and Christ. I am honored and humbled to be his wife, and help carry his cross/his burdens. It is a good day.
Lord Jesus, your nails mend us together. Your love makes us whole. Your forgiveness demands we forgive ourselves and others as you forgive. Lord, thank you, because you see us, you know us and you love us anyway. So, our life, our work, our rest and play..our everything is yours. We give our all to the one who surrendered all and suffered all for us.
Thank you for walking with us. Thank you for allowing us to walk with you. Thank you for caring our burdens. Thank you for the strength to carry one another’s burdens. May we always love each other as you have loved us. In the name of Jesus, we pray, Amen!
I wonder if I didn’t say anything, would you notice I didn’t post yesterday! Mostly, because my son was out of school, it just slipped my mind that it was even Monday. Still, I got plenty of work done including my worship plan for Sunday, and had dinner with my brother-in-law, who is in from San Franciscot, and the rest of the in-laws. Tacos is always a family favorite though noone makes them quite like Marlon, ask my son! I hope you are all having a great week thus far.
I have to get back to writing these budgets and getting ready for Sunday, but I need it to get to my outlet, which is writing for fun. So, let me talk about a couple of books I am or have read, and influence me.
Festive In Death, by J.D. Robb (Nora Roberts)
Lieutenant eve Dallas is a homicide Lieutenant! She is a victim/survivor of the foster care system around 30 years from now give or take. I don’t want to give away too much of a story in case I’ve wet your intereste, and you’re going to go read this 50 books series! Of course, this is fiction, which allows her to be a super superhero. Nevertheless, she overcomes horrific trauma to become an amazingly dedicated public servant. I can empathize, which is why I identify so much with her and love the series. I, too, grew up in foster care, and it was definitely ugly. I find this example to be both intimidating and inspiring. I can’t figure out if it helps me get to work or if it makes me feel like I’m completely not doing anything. Perhaps both. Still, I’ve read this series over and over again.
I like this book in the series particularly, because it forces Eve to have more balance then she tends to and it forces her to celebrate the holidays, which she would pretty much just let fall by the wayside if it were up to her, or so she’d have us believe. She’s a hard ass, but not brittle. Remember my post of Saturday? If we don’t take a rest, it increases The chances of our being brittle and broken… Well, good thing she has people to give her that same message, because she definitely needs it. My guess is most do; especially if, like me, you’re a Perfectionist/Type A personality.
As Eve gives thanks for Rourke, her husband, I give thanks for Marlon, mine. True LOVE definitely makes a difference and when we find it, we have to hold on tightly especially through treacherous and torturous storms. She is irreverent, belittles even the idea of faith in God and cusses entirely too much… She is imperfect. She lives every day of her life fighting for justice and she definitely knows her WHY. I want that confidence and won’t stop until I have it. Lord, I won’t let you go until and unless you bless me (Genesis 32:26j.
Eat That Frog, by Brian Tracy
Perhaps it was the image of eating a disgusting frog that first got my attention! I love this book and have quoted from it quite a few times on Facebook and Instagram. When I suffer from anxiety, I list everything I need to do and that leads to inactivity, because then I get overwhelmed and anxious and I start to feel so small! It is a vicious and sometimes seemingly endless cycle. Can I get an Amen!
I was just talking to my husband about the fact that I don’t want to take the bus to the gym, work out, then either walk back from or take the bus back from the gym because it takes too long. I realized though that of course I spend so much time worrying about it and worrying about what I have to do that the time I think I’m saving, I’m wasting anyway! During that time, I’m beating myself up for what I’m not doing, and doing things that don’t necessarily need to be prioritized or… So, I have to remind myself daily and multiple times daily to eat that frog.
Which one? Bryan tells us the biggest one, but when everything is vital and urgent, that can’t be that easy to figure out all the time either. So, I am working on it.
What do you think? How do you get unstuck?
Finally, I have been titled Sunday’s sermon Indulge Yourself.
My sermon will actually be on Isaiah 55:1-9, so this is the background text for a series. Lent is a time to unclutter our lives, clean out the junk and mess and return full heartedly to following Christ. Repentance is not a happy emotion in the way we are used to thinking of it, but in repenting, we enter the abundant life. We are invited to indulge in water and bread from heaven, and unlike physical water and bread, when we partake of these, we never hunger or thirst again. I love this promise and I’m comfortable walking and sitting in the reality of the almost and not yet partial for filament of this promise. As long as I am here on earth, I will hunger and thirst again physically and spiritually. I don’t walk perfectly with Christ all the time and sometimes I feel abandoned. Even knowing that I may be doing things to block my blessings does not lessen the anguish of these moments. So , I cry come Holy Spirit, come!
Let Us Pray
God, thank you so much for sending your son to be born and live amongst us, to die and fight for us and to rise up again that we might have eternal life. Thank you Holy Spirit that you continue to walk with us and sit with us and live with us so that we may have the wisdom, courage and compassion of Christ in the world. Thank you that you continue to help us walk in the way of Christ. Jesus, we love you and we praise you. We give you all the honor and glory. Thank you for your sacrifice and for your perfect example. We are not worthy in our own power, and yet, we continue to try and to be our best, because that is what you ask of us. Amen!
See ya Monday! Did you know that Sundays during LENT are considered mini Easters? Now, I know for some, that means whatever you decided to fast from or whatever new behavior/practice you are trying to cultivate to honor God gets halted for a day, but that’s not the way I see it. Take a weekly break from doing good? No! that can’t be right. The mimi Easter is a day in the midst of the contemplation to remember that the Christian walk is one, above all, of joy and hope. So, enjoy tomorrow and make sure to keep Christ first, center and always.
Look, I know I first said I intend it to post daily during the season and I do… Except Sundays. Saturdays might be a little abbreviated as well. It’s a family day, many conferences happen on Saturdays, such as today’s young peoples ministry conference, and then there’s preparing for worship on Sundays. If you also work in ministry in some capacity, you know exactly what I’m talking about! So, I am signing off for the weekend. If we don’t give our minds and souls breaks from time to time, we wind up broken and brittle. Take care. This might help. I am sharing a couple of vacation pictures with you as a way to exude peace and joy.
May God bless you and keep you now and forever!
Oh Wait!!! One More Thing
If you are enjoying my blog, please let me know By liking or commenting. Are you reading? Is the blog resonating with you? Do you have questions? Do you have ideas? Do you sense I am walking along this path of discipleship with you? Maybe you’ll take a moment sometime and let me know what’s on your mind. THANK YOU!
Fight for it Friday! This one, I love, because it is important for me to keep up a fighting spirit. Sometimes, we all get tired of fighting! We get tired of having to point out which should be obvious: that everyone deserves to live without fear; to have access to food and water; be able to earn a living wage, especially if they’ve earned a Master’s Degree in their field; have access to education; to not fear being shot by the police as they’re walking down the street, because of the color of their skin and/or their gender…and the list goes on. Justice is something so many of us have to fight for: for ourselves and for others. So fight for it Friday always reminds me to keep going!
But what can we do? One thing everyone can always do is pray. So many times those prayers open the door to action. Because I love acronyms and the use of this device is helpful for children as well, , I enjoy teaching my students the ACTS prayer.
Let us pray.
Living God, Mighty Savior, Spirit who indwells, I love you!
You are my all and all, and yet, I have failed to live as I ought!I am weak. I gossip about people and used foul language. I lose my temper however I attempt to control my tongue. Fear gets in my way, which proves my faith is not as strong as I wish it were.I need your strength, wisdom and grace. I confess all this and more.
I thank you, Lord, that you know my prayers even before I do. I thank you that you are working on my heart and disposition. I thank you for my family and for my new candidacy Mentor. I thank you for the young people in ministry workshop that is going on tomorrow. Since I know what it is to be hungry, thirsty and without clothing or a home, I thank you that I have all of these (even as the lack of rent control and the reality of rent increase threatens ) and so many other blessings. Thank you! You have blessed me abundantly.
Oh Lord, open our hearts to see the people around us as we journey with you to the cross. Help us persist and prevail. Help us see the value in the work we do for you and others every day. Please continue to provide the food and water, the shelter and spiritual care we need to survive. I pray tonight for those who live without rent control and in fear of losing their residences. I pray for those tonight fighting drug addiction and violence/impulse control and those who love them. Protect women, children and even men at the mercy ofthose without compassion. I ask that you give us the courage, knowledge, skills and heart to fight tonight to fight our demons and to stand along side of those who are fighting others. We need you and we need each other tonight tomorrow and forever. In Jesus precious name by the power of the Holy Spirit and giving all glory to God, I pray, AhMen.
Thankful Thursday is on its way out. There is so much to be thankful for. I observe this day every week, Because even though we may not need a special day or special holiday or special season to be thankful, it helps to have those special times. The truth is that in the stress and drama and hardship, gratitude, joy and contentment have to be intentional. They don’t come quite as naturally are easy as the more negative emotions and emotional states. So, maybe it seems a little Hallmark or hokey to celebrate Thankful Thursday, but I’m going with it! There’s a lot to be thankful for.
So Thankful For
My new mentor.
My resourceful, patient and amusing friend, Ainise.
Great tacos after a long day.
My Bible Study Class.
Of course, there is so much more than these five to be thankful for. I wanted to make a list short and name things that perhaps I don’t mention all the time.
Do you keep a daily gratitude journal? What are you grateful for today?
I mentioned being thankful for my Bible study class tonight, and I am. I highly prioritize being there every week, because the study, fellowship and probing question of how is it with your soul makes Christ real to me in a way I need. This is what the church is for: to nurture, nourish, equip and then… To send us out to share that peace, joy and wisdom with the world.
Specifically, from today’s class, I want to sit with Matthew 5:40 and Matthew 5:45 for a while. Jesus tells the crowd whatever we have done to the least of these we have done to him and conversely what we have failed to do for the least of these we have failed to do for him. So, as Wesley reminds us, John Wesley that is, we not only have to do no harm but as Christians we are best served to do all the good we can do. There is no more powerful message to carry with us on this Lenten journey as we continue struggling forward and pulling others along with us, and from time to time, crawling or tiptoeing or bellying our way up the steep mountain.
Minus the Scripture, HufPostc published this image with a story about a lost autistic child. The lost, last, least
Pope Francis states rather bluntly at this site that hell awaits those who abandon, ignore and add to the plight of the pooR.
Lord, open my eyes and heart to see all the people especially those who are among the last, lost and least by the world standards. No matter how hard it is to look, give me the strength, courage and compassion to look and see and be your instrument of healin, love, justice and mercy in the world. Amen.