“I suffer with depression.”


“It’s the stigma that makes you hold it in and you hide it, because the stigma around depression in our society is very real. Unfortunately we live in a world where if you break your arm, everyone runs to sign your cast. But when you say you have depression, they run away. We can’t procrastinate on something this important.”

This, my friend says it all really well. Please watch – understand depression.

Depression is real. It’s not weak.

Depression

…because love wins.

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Who do you say I AM?


“Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say I am?”

“They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, that one of the prophets of long ago has come back to life.”

“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

“Peter answered, “God’s Messiah.”

Pause. What does that mean? Webster, whatcha got?

Image

I wonder if they all already believed that and were like, “Well, yeah, duh, Peter. Obviously. Maybe His question was rhetorical? He obviously just caught about a bazillion fish for you. Or were you asleep for that?” And then Jesus has to be all like, “Calm down boys, no competition needed here. You can repent to Me for that later. I’m still here to save you.”

I mean, it could have happened. They’re humans. And men. I’m half-kidding. We’ve all been at a football game before. Men are good competitors.

Anyway…moving on.

gardenThe other options are something likened to stopping breathing or realizing that this is potentially a mental health problem on a grand scale. They could have all been thinking, “You know, a year ago I was just chillin’ with my money and now I’m hanging out with these other 11 guys that I’m not sure have a clue, walking around with this guy who prays in gardens when he should be sleeping. This seems like a good time to jump ship.” Or, they were just like…”Eh, whatever, I was bored anyway, and this could be fun.”

That last one is probably unlikely, but still possible. Still humans.

The final option is that they could have gotten it. And knew that this was the real thing. This guy showed up. He didn’t come all fancy based on world’s standards (They probably thought he’d show up in a Fisker Karma or something.) but sure did have something special about him. Maybe that was the point.

Jesus goes on,

“[He] strictly warned them not to tell this to anyone. And he said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.”

“Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will

save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.”

Man. We just established that he’s the Messiah. And now he say to these guys, “Well, let’s go. Leave your whole life. You don’t need anything you’ve ever had before; just Me.”

sandals

Are you kidding me? I would have been like…”Um, my house, my donkey, my only book that I’ve got hidden in my backyard, my rice, my beans, my SANDALS! You’re just a guy – and we won’t get many showers travelling like you intend. Smelly and no iPhone. How can we make it?” (Who knows…Apple could have been there too.)

I think we all would have been. I also think it’s easy to think that these men were something special, that they saw something that made everything make sense in a way that it doesn’t now. I think we think it was easy for this men to do this.

But think about it. There’s no way in the world that they would have been able to just do this without a major struggle. It’s quite obvious that there were enough people around who didn’t think Jesus was the right One. And they thought that enough to murder Him.

Therefore, I think it’s safe to say that it wasn’t easier for them to believe than it is for us to.

But he was also talking about dying. And saving the world. And that catches my attention. And theirs.

It’s then also safe to say that it was right.

Think about your closest friends. Do you care what the world thinks about them? No, you don’t. You care about who they are. And you will follow them, be with them, and live life with them, because you know who they are.

The same applies to Jesus. We are just like Peter. Who do the athiests say Jesus is? The Mormons? The Muslims? Well, they say He’s something that He’s not.

But He says to you, “Child, who do you say I AM?”

Will you come?

…because love wins.

Jesus

Cited: Luke 9:18-27

It hurts, you know.


It hurts.

It hurts to hear that my friends are suffering.
It hurts to hear that radiation is burning their skin.
It hurts to hear that they are throwing up.
It hurts to hear that their parents cannot comfort them.
It hurts to hear that they are miles away from their little sisters for weeks.
It hurts to see their hair fall out.
Again.
It hurts to watch their tired eyes.
It hurts to watch them shake in weakness.
It hurts to see them not even be able to do their homework.
It hurts to not even be able to communicate the pain.
It hurts to be here, when they are there.
It hurts to hold their hands as another child dies.
Again.
It hurts to come home and cry.
It hurts to realize that hardly anyone sees this.
It hurts to realize that those who do know, obviously don’t care enough.
It hurts to miss them at Christmas.
It hurts to walk into their empty rooms.
It hurts to have another piece empty in my heart.

Childhood cancer, it hurts much more than you know.

Childhood cancer, it hurts, please know.

…because love wins.

Standing

7 words America’s 20-somethings didn’t know before September 11, 2001


As someone in my early-twenties, 12 years is almost half of my life. There have been thousands of growing experiences in those years, but there are just some days that create adulthood in children faster than they ever should.

Never ForgetOf course, we all remember where we were. I sat in the front row of a 6th grade classroom honestly not even knowing what was going on. I hardly had a concept of what an airplane looked like, and had never been to New York City. My teachers were crying, and I wished my teenage sister was with me to tell me what had just happened. I didn’t know what I was supposed to feel about this – but I did know without thinking, that I was scared.

That day changed my entire generation. Until that point, we had the safety of America in which we could rejoice. We trusted that we were always safe here. And we were dreamers, not fighters. What was there to be afraid of? The fight is always miles away. It’s my job to play until I grow up and get to lead the world as an American that the world respects.

But then we learned some things. These are 7 words we never knew, and now some we’ll never forget.

1. Terrorism: [ter-uh-riz-uh m] noun: the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce especially for political purposes.

What? What even is that? Why in the world is that even a thing? Those people flew those airplanes into our buildings because it just is what they do? What?

Who would have thought we’d live years of it to come?

2. Al-Qaeda: [al-kaidah] noun: a global militant Islamist organization founded by Osama bin Laden in Pakistan at some point between August 1988 and late 1989 with his origins being traceable to the Soviet War in Afganistan.

I remember how long it took for me to be able to say this word. And to learn that this is a group that operates as a network comprising both a multinational, stateless army and racial Sunni Muslim movement calling for global Jihad. Understanding that these folks could be anywhere in the world at any time begged a lot of questions of me as a child.

3. Osama bin Laden: (March 10, 1957 – May 2, 2011): The founder of Al-Qaeda, and born to a billionaire in Saudia Arabia.

Even as a child, I was a Christian. And I learned very quickly that this man didn’t like us very much. To him, his actions were his truth. And he really needed to believe it to encourage someone to fly a plane into our buildings. And so much more.

4. Mass Casualty: (MCI): any incident in which emergency medical services resources, such as personnel and equipment, are overwhelmed by the number and severity of casualties.

I know as a 6th grader I had no concept of 3,000 people being killed in one location alone. But I did understand that my family wasn’t with me, and that I wanted them to be. I knew what it would be like to be that family waiting for their dad to call home. And I understood that a lot of dads wouldn’t come home that night.

5. Hero: [heer-oh]: noun: a man of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave and noble qualities.

For the first time in my life, I saw true, no-holds-bar heroes. They ran into that plume of gas and debris, and fire, to save someone else’s life. I will never forget that for all of my life. The greatest love is that of laying your life down for that of your brother.

6. Ground Zero: at its purest definition, this is the point on the earth closest to a detonation. That was where those families lost their loved ones.

We still talk about it today the way we did that day. It’s still observed as a place of remembrance. It’s a place of great unity. It’s a place of great American pride. It’s a place that deserves our honor forever.

7. Hope: /h-oh-p/: noun: a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.

I knew that I had hoped for things in life. I even probably understood it better than most my age because I had already faced childhood cancer, but 9/11 changed what that word meant in a great way. We could have given up, but hope won’t allow that. Instead, we hoped. We hoped for an end of terrorism just as fast as we learned what it was. And we hoped that we could return to America and so many families what they lost that day.

12 years later, us 20-somethings are older. We are more America than we were then. And we’re proud to say that no matter how those words changed our lives, America still hopes. We hope for life for those who hurt us to change, we hope for our own understanding of the need of compassion and selflessness, and we hope always for freedom. Because that’s what we are. Land of the free. Because of the hope of the brave.

We’re America – we won’t forget and we’ll always have infinite strength in our hope.

…because love wins.