Become a Better Disciple and a More Faithful Leader
Making Disciples & Forming Faithful Leaders
The Life-Changing Power of God's Mercy
All of us experience suffering in some degree. Whether physically, emotionally, or spiritually, there are struggles in all of our lives. And the beautiful truth is that God is merciful and wants nothing more than for us to ask His help so that He can reach out and touch our lives.
Every now and then I read something or hear someone comment about how Jesus hates religion or that religion is bad and what we really need is a relationship with Jesus. As much as I share the belief that a relationship with Jesus Christ is key to being a Christian, I strongly disagree with the idea that religion is some perverted form of the true faith, because I hold fast to the idea that we should be religious about our relationship with Jesus.
Parenthood is no easy task. Family life is full of it’s challenges. It was designed that way. It is center of formation for us to learn how to love, to forgive, to live selfless lives. There are those moments where we as parents feel like we’re literally going crazy. I’ve been there myself. However, I have come to believe that even in these difficult experiences, rather, especially in these difficult experiences, God is speaking to us as parents.
Heaven is not just about being happy in a temporal sense of the word. Heaven is about being happy with God. With God is the key. For those who leave out or neglect that with God, will never actually experience Heaven for what it truly is—eternal intimacy with God. The reason this is so important to understand is because billions claim to be Christians, because they were baptized or because they go to Church on Sunday, which is all well and good. However, claiming to be a Christian, as we will see, is not enough. For your life on earth, should be a reflection of your faith in God, of your relationship with Him.
Just weeks after hurricane Patricia devastated Western Mexico, the fact that storms will come in life remains fresh in our minds. Suffering is inevitable, even for the holiest of Christians. It comes with the territory.
Before I give a talk I often start by greeting the audience and by asking them a question that at first seems common enough: How are you? Comfortable? The obvious answer for most people is in the affirmative. However, my response is what tends to surprise them, which is the reason I use it. Well, hopefully we can change that. It catches them off-guard and gets their attention, which is one of the reasons I use it. But even more importantly, I say it because I really want them to be uncomfortable.
We talk a great deal about catechesis and evangelization here at Leaders that Follow. In fact, I even wrote a book about it. When most of us think about faith formation or catechesis, we think about it in the context of sacramental preparation—going to a pre-baptismal talk or sending our children to catechism in preparation for their first holy communion and confirmation. Parishes exert great efforts to reach the youth, to bring the life-changing message of Jesus Christ to them.
When you look at the state of our modern world it is easy to fall into despair. It can seem impossible to find hope when you see everything around you falling deeper into darkness. Things are not always as we’d hope. Honestly, they never will be, at least not in this world. But the good thing is that you were not made for this world, but for something greater. And this is why you should not lose hope.
It can be difficult to prioritize your life when God claims primacy, but your family also feels they should be at the top of the list. How do you manage to fit both your family and your family into your already busy life?
I’m sure you know that being a Christian does not by any means free you from the difficulties of this world. Sure, you understand that you are “not of this world”, but you are human and thus are subject to the effects of our fallen nature. One of the those effects is discouragement. As a Christian you can and will become discouraged at times, but there are ways to deal with it.
If you are like me then you take your faith seriously. You love Jesus and want to shout it to the world. You are driven by that love, but also by your call to evangelize, to “make disciples of all nations”. It’s a big task and it can often seem daunting, especially in our society that is very quickly turning further and further away from God.
These days it is common to hear people say they believe in God, but they don’t need to go to Church. They pray. They read the Bible. They listen to TV preachers. For them that’s enough. I am the first to admit that all of these things are great. However, Church is not a nice thing to do when you have time on the weekend, it is an essential part of living out your Christian faith.