C.R. Mooney

Almost (Saved)

by on Jun.30, 2013, under It Hurts So Good, Spirituality, Videos

I heard this spoken word (poem) recently and it so moved me, I wanted to share it with you. It’s about the biggest oxymoron know to man: “almost-saved.”

I hope it messes with your soul the way it has mine.

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Watering Weeds

by on Jun.25, 2013, under It Hurts So Good, My Thoughts

watering weedsThe kids and I worked in the garden today, and they all took turns watering our little vegetable sprouts. My instructions were clear: only water where the plants grow and not in between the rows where the weeds grow.

The kids were concerned that we hadn’t watered the garden good enough.

We came inside for ice cream cones and before long, the sky darkened and it began to rain. I said, “See, God’s watering it now, and he knows what he’s doing. However, we only watered our plants.”

Laila, our oldest and quick to wit, said, “Are you saying that we did a better job than God?”

I knew I was beat. Subconsciously I implied exactly that. But my spirit knew better and I replied, “No honey, I’m saying that God cares about the weeds too.”

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Emancipated, But Are You Free?

by on Jun.11, 2013, under It Hurts So Good, Spirituality

freedom_shackles_chains_Few words have changed the course of American history like “emancipate.” It’s very utterance stirs images of black families being freed from bondage.

I can see entire families who have just received the news colliding in the middle of a field with crazed enthusiasm greater than the celebration pile at the end of a sports championship win. Decades of struggle, toil, and beatings finally come to an end. The fruit of their labor could now be their own.

But for some it was not so. When the Union won and President Lincoln enforced the Emancipation Proclamation, some slave owners were less than honest. Since slaves weren’t taught to read, some owners told their slaves not that they were free, but that it meant that they could no longer be sold to a new master. This was incredible news to them as it meant their families would no longer be split up and sold to other masters. They could all serve the one master together.

Some worked for years for their old masters before they found out that all along they were truly free to walk off the plantation and make their own way in life.

This Sunday at church, we sang the song “Break Every Chain” by Jesus Culture. The main words of the chorus are:

There is power in the name of Jesus
To break every chain

In singing these words, I couldn’t help but think about the freedom that Jesus’ death and resurrection purchased for all mankind. However, a harsh master, the Father of Lies has intentionally misrepresented it to us – and some have believed him.

I cannot imagine what it was like to be a slave in the early years of our great country. The humiliation, degradation, and utter emotional and physical devastation that they underwent is unsurpassed in even my imagination.

But I do know what it means to be hopeless and a slave to sin. I know the weight of those chains well. I know what it means to serve the Master of Deception. The wounds of his whip and the scars of his shackles remain.

But when I put my faith in Christ, I am no longer a slave to sin. He gave me the right to walk away from sin and never serve its master again. But I fear so many times I look down and see my broken chains and loosed shackles and just stand there. Maybe it’s that after so many years of bondage I don’t know what freedom even means and the Father of lies says, “Yes Chris, you are free. You can be holy and still work for me on the side. You can raise your hands in worship to God on Sunday morning and lower His standards for you in worship to me on Sunday evening.”

Instead of running for the hills with my freedom papers in hand, I choose to stay and work for the same hard master. I believe my old, harsh master’s words over God’s.

Maybe it’s that I’ve restricted the definition of freedom as only a release from bondage and not also as the permission to move toward liberty. Is it possible that I’ve watered down the regenerating power of God in my life as only the power to abstain from sin and not as the authority to be righteous and holy.

Corporately, as a church, have we done the same and in so given ourselves, by an abuse of grace, a way to serve our old master? Have we manipulated freedom’s definition to hold tight to unholy habits that satisfy our flesh yet defile our spirits?

I know I’ve asked more questions than answered, but look hard at your life, and I will mine. We must look in the mirror and ask the hard questions and not be afraid of the answers. We must examine ourselves regularly to see if we are still in the faith, or out of it. And do so humbly allowing God to confront us where we are wrong and submit ourselves to His correction.

Remember, Jesus’ death was a contract. We’ve been emancipated. We are free, because whoever the Son sets free, is free indeed!

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When to Call Out a False Teacher By Name

by on Apr.17, 2013, under My Thoughts, Videos

Shai Linne Fal$e Teacher$I’ve heard plenty of preachers over the years and thought, “Wow, I’d like to see what chapter and verse THAT theology was based on.” Granted, no one is perfect and I’m sure that I believe a few things that would make you scratch your head too.

But at what point do we call a brother out — by name?

Really. At what point do say, “Pastor, if you can’t show me where this came from and how it applies as you laid out, what you said here is false teaching.” Where is the line drawn if there is no sound evidence that the doctrine is Biblical that you decide to nationally call a pastor out — by name.

Well Christian musician Shai Linne decided to do just that in his new single, “Fal$e Teacher$” (video below).

The song directly attacks twelve pastors for teaching the Prosperity Gospel. I put the list below the video.

I for one hope that Mr. Linne privately confronted these men and women before posterizing them in what has become a viral music video.

How appropriate is this video, and when do you think it is proper to call out a pastor publicly when you believe they are a false teacher?

 

Here’s the list (from his lyrics):

Talk to them)
Joel Osteen – false teacher!
(Let them know)
Creflo Dollar is a false teacher!
(Who else? Who else?)
Benny Hinn is a false teacher!
I know they’re popular but don’t let them deceive ya!
(Talk to them)
TD Jakes is a false teacher!
(Tell the Truth)
Joyce Meyer is a false teacher!
(Let them know)
Paula White is a false teacher!
Use your discernment, let the Bible lead ya!
(Keep going)
Fred Price is a false teacher!
(Tell the Truth)
Kenneth Copland is a false teacher!
(Who else? Who else?)
Robert Tilton is a false teacher!
I know they’re popular but don’t let them deceive ya!
(Talk to them)
Eddie Long is a false teacher!
(Let them know)
Juanita Bynum is a false teacher!
(Who else? Who else?)
Paul Crouch is a false teacher!
Use your discernment, let the Bible lead ya!

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My marriage is better than average, is yours?

by on Mar.13, 2013, under My Thoughts

Today, March 13 2013, Bethany and I celebrate our fourteenth year of marriage!

Beth was barely 18, and I 21 that cold day in 1999. We heard from many people (even close friends), “You’re too young. You’ll never make it.” Ha! I laugh in your faces! Not only are we still married, we’re happy and LOVING it!

The U.S. Census Bureau released a report in 2005 stating that the average first-time marriage lasts 8 years. According to that statistic, we are KILLING IT! I love when cold, hard fact back up our awesomeness.

It’s been a great fourteen years. There have been tough years as well as some easy and through it all, God has been faithful to us and we to each other. We have five children ages 11, 9, 7, 6, 4, and child number six due in May.

I love ‘em, I love ‘em, I love ‘em. And I love my sugar baby even more today than the day I married her (and she is ten times hotter now than then too!)

The study I linked to has some interesting stuff in it. 76% of first time marriages between 1955-1959 lasted 20 years or longer, while marriages from 1975-1979 only had 58% last at least that long. Also, forget the “Seven year itch,” more first-time marriages end in year two (1 in 12 in year two as opposed to 1 in 20 in year seven).

So, to encourage all you you married people (and soon to be!), if we can do it, anyone can. And remember, it’s not about you — it’s about both of you.  As for words to live by, I can only speak from the husband perspective.  The Bible says to love your wife as Christ loves the church (Eph. 5:25). He laid down His life for us, so give your life for her.  He had no complaints, even though He knew it would be tough, and He still gave his life knowing He might never receive anything in return, so quit your complaining and help her out once in awhile.  Also, 1 Corinthians 13 is a great place to learn about love as well.

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By the Word of Our Testimony

by on Mar.04, 2013, under Spirituality

By the Word of Our TestimonyA few weeks ago I gave a friend a ride to Rochester, which is about a three hour drive. No, acquaintance is more accurate, though I believe now we are friends.

See, there’s only a few things one can do when stuck in a car for a few hours with another individual. You can listen to the radio, talk, or sleep. If you know me at all my only option is to talk.

So talk we did.

It started with the small chit-chat, “How’s it going?” Blah. Blah. Blah. But before long we were sharing our history with each other.

My friend is a single guy, and I’m a fourteen-year marriage veteran with five kids (number six due in three months!). He started asking me how I liked marriage and family life. With each question he drew wisdom out of me like buckets of water from a well. I told an almost perfect stranger about past failures and victories few people know. Before long he was telling me his story and what God had done in his life to make him the man he is today.

It was powerful.

Do I think what I said will make a long-term difference in his life and how he someday treats his wife? I hope so. I hope he avoids some of the pitfalls I fell into and that he develops the type of relationship that love stories are written about. I may never know.

One thing I do know is that God accomplished something in us. This past Sunday Peter Hopper shared at our church about the power of our testimony. When we open our mouths to speak, not only is the other person strengthened but so are we. We are better men, better Christians today because of that talk. We shared our lives, our testimonies of how God has dealt kindly with us despite our transgressions and in doing so broke some of the lies of the devil in our lives–that we are alone and no one can understand our struggles or has overcome them.

And I know it can’t just be me. I believe there’s something deep inside us all that longs to be seen by others. To be known.

Sharing our story with others is part of that. Anyone can love the “good” us, the façade we put on display when we pretend that everything is OK and we are perfect (or at least better than “so and so”). One of love’s greatest powers is knowing the good and the bad about a person and still loving him despite his failures.

Answer that call deep inside you and share your story with someone today. Heck, share it here. Not only will it bring victory into your life, it will bring it to theirs as well.

Revelation 12:11 ” And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.” (ESV, emphasis added)

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Martin Luther King Jr. on Forgiveness

by on Jan.22, 2013, under Spirituality

Copyright AP Photo/PL

Rev. Martin Luther King with Harlem Hospital's Dr. Emil A. Naclerio. AP Photo/PL

On September 20, 1958, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was nearly assassinated. At a book signing, Izola Curry stabbed Rev. King in the chest with a steel letter opener. It was reported the next morning that it was so close to his aorta that if he’d have sneezed it would have killed him (source).

I cannot imagine what I would feel toward that woman those five days in recovery, but I can give you the words of Rev. King one month later.

“I am deeply sorry that a deranged woman should have injured herself in seeking to injure me. I can say, in all sincerity, that I bear no bitterness toward her and I have felt no resentment from the sad moment that the experience occurred…

“And finally, as I indicated before, the experience I had in New York gave me time to think. I believe that I have sunk deeper the roots of my conviction that nonviolence {non-violent} resistence is the true path for overcoming injustice and for stamping out evil. (source)”

Incredible. Not only does he forgo any sympathy toward his injury, he focuses on his concern for the woman that tried to drive a letter opener through his heart! Sometimes I have a hard time forgiving my own family of petty differences and incidents, yet this great man did not hold a single ounce of malice toward a woman who tried to end his life. He did not even press charges against her and instead encouraged her to seek treatment.

And then I consider the words of Jesus, “But if you don’t forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins. (Matthew 6:15 CEV)” Wow, really? Is God saying that harboring unforgiveness separates me from him? And I see Jesus hanging on the cross looking down at the people screaming obscenities at him while demanding that he prove his claims, at the soldiers with blood splattered hammers in-hand gambling for his clothes while he gasps for air. Then I hear those final words, “Father forgive them.”

I’m left empty, praying. “God help me to be like that. Help me to let go of any debt I feel others owe me because of the pain they’ve caused and truly forgive them. And not only to forgive them but show them love and compassion.”

I’ll leave you with these words from Rev. King and a challenge. Who has wronged you that you have been unwilling to forgive? Now take the time this moment and truly forgive them.

“We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.”

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Night Lights

by on Dec.18, 2012, under Spirituality

If you have kids who are afraid of the dark or have ever been yourself, you know it’s no small matter. There’s just something that happens in the imagination when the lights go out.

Snakes hiss through the fan, ghosts play behind the curtains in the breeze. Any cold air seeping under the blanket becomes a slimy tentacle determined to pull you under, every flickering shadow a night terror.

There is one thing though that can extinguish even the most rampant imagination; the night light.

As the dad of six kids ranging from in-the-womb to eleven, I see these little wonders calm a child in a way I never can. Why? Because no matter how many words I use to tell them that the doors are locked and assure them of their safety, it’s nothing compared to the fear that five-watt light vanquishes on a nightly basis.

I think the world is like that child.

We walk around in this world and it’s full of darkness, and it makes us afraid. Storms blow and beat us to our knees. The pressures of life seep in and pull us down until we’re drowning in despair. Circumstances in life get magnified by that darkness to appear to be more than we can bear. All the while the boogie man is at the door.

Sometimes I feel that I have to be some great and powerful light, that I have to do some marvelous Christian work in order to reach the world with God’s love. But it’s just not true. Because even a faith as tiny as a night light can have an incredible effect.

God walks across the room and plugs a little light into the wall. His love and power flow through us, no matter how small that seems. And he uses that humble light to illuminate everything around us so the world doesn’t have to be afraid. Their hissing snakes fade into soothing white noise. Their curtain ghosts are transformed into a barricade protecting them from the outside distractions. The cool air seeping into their blankets a refreshing wind that relieves them of heat and exhaustion. The looming shadows and night terrors wilt into play things that instead are used for their good.

Yes, we are to be like a night light to the world, giving his love to others like a beacon that extinguishes their darkness. And it doesn’t take much light to fill a room. A simple five-watt night light will do just fine.

And that gives me hope.

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How Tall Will A Tree Grow?

by on Dec.05, 2012, under Spirituality

At first glance, the question appears unanswerable. There are too many variables, right? A definite answer across the board seems elusive, but it can be answered.

Whether the tree’s a gargantuan redwood or a Lilliputian size dwarf willow, the answer is the same; a tree will grow as tall as it can.

You may be thinking, “What a cop-out, Mooney,” but hear me out.

Regardless of the breed, each seed has the potential to grow as tall and fruitful as its species will allow. Even if you compare specific species they still grow to different heights depending on a number of factors like soil, temperature, and precipitation.

If the tree is devoid of essential nutrients or exposed to harsh elements its growth will be stunted, but if given a healthy environment it’s free to grow to its fullest potential.

We’re like that.

Each one of us is different, with our own unique personalities and quirks. Each of us has a different level of talent and potential. In order to become what God has intended for us, we have to create an environment that fosters that growth. This includes praying and reading the Bible, not as a matter of obligation but with a desire to know God. It means excluding activities and relationships that aren’t beneficial to this relationship.

Psalm 1

Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers.  Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.  For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.

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Motivational Monday: Famous Failures

by on Oct.29, 2012, under It Hurts So Good, Motivation, Videos, Writing

Famous FailureI know, you’re probably thinking, “How can ‘famous failures’ be motivational?”

It’s simple; because I’ve failed. Miserably. I’m writing a book and at times I just want to take my laptop and through it through the window. I repeatedly set writing goals and miss them.

But you know, I just can’t quit on it. There’s something that burns deep inside me to get the words on the page. I have a message buried in the marrow of my bones, and though it aches when I try to extract it, it must come out.

Our youth pastor Joe Gilchrist preached at church yesterday and shared a list of famous people who appeared to be complete failures before they found their way to success. And I loved it. Not in a morbid way where I said, “Ha! You suck too!” but where I could say, “Wow, they overcame so much more than I have to. With God’s strength, I can do this.”

So I found a video with some of these “famous failures” and I hope it motivates you to keep on keeping on.

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