What a Time to be Alive
Welcome to my first official blog with Connect City and for spending a bit of your time today to read updates, see for the first time What I, Warden Underground and Connect City are about or maybe simply you are interested in my thoughts. Whatever bring you here I’m very appreciative and thank you.
I always struggle with title names like “pastor” because of the negative stigmas and experiences people have attached to it. I understand that not all “pastors” are negative or have done things that have pushed people away from church or contributed to bad experiences, but in my context it seems that the general consensus are those things unfortunately. I just go by Jordan but if I had to choose a “title” I’d feel most comfortable with minister. I believe minister creates dialogue from others. For example; “You’re a minister of what?” Or “You’re a minister, what does that mean?” Or “What exactly is a minister?” Or lastly, “What do you do as a minister?” These type of responses allow me to define what I, as a follower of Jesus, get to do without having peoples guards up or preconceived ideas to my “job title”. It’s sadly sobering knowing all the negative connotations that exist with the word “pastor.”
COVID-19, Coronavirus or the”Rona” as us black, urban, and people in the hip hop culture call it, has us living in wild and crazy times. We are definitely living in unprecedented times but is that a bad thing? We get to join GOD in innovation and through His leading, create new unique expressions of what “church” is and looks like. For weeks or maybe even months now, religious gatherings like the church have been closed due to this virus. Government officials declared social distancing so others (especially the elderly and people with preexisting health issues), have a better chance of not getting the “Rona” because it could become very severe or even fatal! Wow. WHAT A TIME TO BE ALIVE! I’m reading or seeing on TV that everyday they keep learning more about this virus and that things they thought they understood about the rona weren’t necessarily true. Sheesh. It’s kind of scary when you really reflect on it.
I hope you ALL are staying safe as well as your loved ones. I had time to think about this a lot – in regards to cherishing your loved ones. This all started before the rona and in January. January 26 2020 to be exact. I, and the rest of the world, found out that morning or early afternoon that Kobe Bryant, along with his daughter Gigi, and seven other passengers had passed away in a helicopter accident. This rocked my world and I didn’t expect it to. Kobe was my hero growing up. I loved how he played basketball and even tried imitating him when I played. I loved his “mamba” mentality and just the greatness that flowed from him. When Kobe passed I became sad for days. I knew I would have been sad because he was someone I admired, but I also thought that I’d be able to get over it pretty quickly since I didn’t have a “real” relationship with him but this was not the case. For a solid week I was sad, maybe even a bit depressed. The night of January 26, I sat in my living room with my Kobe jersey on, drinking a beer and my tears flowing just reflecting on life. I came to the conclusion that those in my life who I love mean more to me than ANYTHING in this world. I quickly became convicted because I realized that I hadn’t be living this out in my personal life especially when it came to my wife, my son, my mother, and my siblings. I realized that the things that people say are “great” like ministry for example, contributed to me neglecting, taking for granted, and not being present for my family and loved ones. This is not good I concluded, and wept then repented. I need to be there for my loved ones and family because tomorrow is never promised (Proverbs 27:1 & James 4:13-15).
Fast forward to mid March and the world, for the most part, are “stuck” at home with their families and loved ones. Personally, I have used this time to make up for “lost time” and be present with my family and loved ones. It has been a blessing and I vow to not allow myself to drift away from people who mean the most to me again. I know for some this time of being home is not a “blessed” time. For some, you are being abused by your partner. Others are suffering anxiety, depression and mental health issues. You are not alone. This is a HARD time and I want you all to know that I acknowledge what you, or somebody you may know, are going through. This hits home for me because since the pandemic has started and people have been home, I know of four people who are EXTREMELY close to me that are going through these things. Its heart breaking. I offer you or the people you know the same thing I offer those that I know which is my prayers, and this may sound cliche but I also offer you Jesus!
I’m reminded of Acts 3 when Peter and John are on their way into the temple and they encounter a man who has been lame since birth. Everyday this man’s custom is to go to the same gate at the temple and beg for money. This man sees Peter and Jon and, as he does with everyone else, he asks them for money. In verse 6-8 it says:
6 “Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” 7 Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. 8 He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God.
Silver or Gold I do not have, but what I do have is Jesus! He is madly in love with you. Not just that but he accepts you for who you are right now! You don’t need to clean yourself up first or somehow become a “better person” or attain a certain amount of righteousness. He died for you and me and in doing so He defeated sin, Satan and death which has had you and me in bondage our whole lives. Jesus’s resurrection has shown that He conquered these things which means we aren’t held captive anymore; thus liberating you and I forever! WE’RE FREE! We are no longer slaves. What a beautiful message! WHAT A TIME TO BE ALIVE! Where there is restlessness, He offers PEACE. Where there is chaos, He offers STILLNESS. Where there is hate or indifference, He offers LOVE. Where there is regret, He offers FORGIVENESS, and where there is weariness, He offers REST! Come to Him, He says, for His yoke is easy and His burden is light (Matthew 11:28-30). I pray that you come to Him as He’s ALWAYS been in pursuit of you and me DESPITE our positive or negative efforts. May the miracle in your life be what is written above. As well as a renewed soul, a sense of purpose and belonging, joy in the midst of trials of suffering, and celebration as GOD’s Spirit makes you a NEW CREATION!
Peace, blessings & love,