Grandpa Ed

Last week the Hermes family lost someone very, very special to all.

Edward Francis Hermes was a man who was many things to many people.  To myself and 11 others he was grandpa.  To my father and his brothers and sister he was dad.  But to all he was a great man.

I want to honor Grandpa by sharing a memory or two of the man that I knew.

My grandpa Ed was a generous, hardworking, fun loving man.  All who knew him knew that he worked hard for the money that he earned.  A trip to his farm on Mound Hill Road is all that it takes to see the years upon years of toil that he put in to provide for his family and the ones he loved.  This didn’t stop Grandpa from giving away his money to those who needed it.   He was quick to buy a toy for his grandkids- I will never forget the time that he bought myself and three of my cousins electric scooters, just because he wanted us to have a good time.

Perhaps one of the most influential acts of generosity in my life is how Grandpa helped me along my way through college.  When I would talk to him from time to time he would look me in the eyes and ask how my grades were.  I would reply, “all A’s, gramps” and he’d smile and say, “keep it up,” while handing me a check.  Although he wasn’t a man for giving compliments, that was the best compliment I could have asked for.

When I think about Grandpa, I think about the legacy that he handed down to all of those that he helped to create.  I don’t mean the physical legacy of goods and money;  I mean the legacy of character that each member of the Hermes family possesses that was created in the field and in the home, day in and day out, for years upon years.  The characteristics of hard work, generosity, and having a good time that exist in our family because Grandpa Ed paved the way.

So thank you, Grandpa Ed.  Thank you for paving the way for myself and all of my family to live a blessed life. Can’t wait to play some golf with you again someday.

 

“That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day….” 2 Cor 4:16

 

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All of my grandparents.  Grandpa Ed is farthest on the right.

 

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nicaragua

Jacy and I recently had the opportunity to travel to Central America for a week.  I’d like to share more about our trip for anyone who’s interested to read along.

Nicaragua is not known for much in the way of tourism.  It’s not even known for much in the way of anything good.  When you tell someone you are going to Nicaragua the response is not, “Wow, lucky!” it’s more of, “Oh!  Why are you going there? Is it a missions trip?”

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I’d like this blog post to show both sides of the coin of Nicaragua.  It is a country filled with beauty, volcanoes, lakes, and great people.  It’s also a country filled with poverty, sickness, and stray animals.  Both coexist in this loud, bustling package known as Nicaragua.

We went to sleep around 7:30 PM on Friday night to try to get a couple of hours of rest in before leaving from O’Hare Airport at 5:00 AM.  We stopped for a layover in Houston at 7:30 AM and sprinted across the airport in record time, downing a breakfast burrito along the way to make our connecting flight to Managua, Nicaragua.

After going through customs and collecting our luggage our good friends were waiting for us with a taxi, ready to take us to our hotel where we would stay for our first couple of days in Managua.  The taxi ride was long, and the weather was hot.  Going from freezing temperatures to mid 90’s within a couple of hours is a strange sensation.  Our bodies were defrosting, as it were.

We stayed in a very nice Holiday Inn.  It was almost bittersweet, though.  Driving through Managua you see people in the streets selling food, water, and drinks, as well as small concrete houses lining the streets and alley ways.  The hotel looked out of place as we arrived.  This large building set back from the street was one-of-a-kind, and I quickly realized that this is not the norm for Managua.

The first night in Managua we got to meet the parents of our good friend Odulio.  He is our connection to Nicaragua, as he married a good friend of ours from high school.  To get to his house you have to take what is called a caponera, which is basically a small gas powered golf cart that functions as a taxi to get through the dirt-road neighborhoods.

We entered their humble house and were greeted by a sweet couple with open arms.  Their house, like many others in Managua was no larger than most of the living rooms in the United States.  It was constructed out of concrete and was not decorated or adorned with anything other than what was necessary.  The dinner table stood out as the most prized piece of furniture, and I later found out that the family had spent much of their money to purchase this table as it was a dream of theirs for over a year.

Dinner was amazing.  Chicken, rice, and beans.  But the best of all three.  For dessert I got to try a fruit that grows out front of their house known as the nancite.  It was sweet, strong, and delicious.  Pictured below is the sink in their house and our dinner.

The next morning we attended a Chi Alpha meeting on one of the college campuses in Managua.  I had the privilege of meeting many people who are on fire for God, and even got to lead worship for their meeting (leading in Spanish is not so easy).

That night we went to see Port Salvador Allende.  It is widely known as one of the only touristy things to do in Managua.  It was beautiful… a large sprawling port that overlooks Lake Managua.  The lake, although beautiful, is polluted.  For this reason, you cannot swim in it.  I was thinking of how amazing it would be for the tourism sector of Nicaragua if they would invest in cleaning up the lake.  It could be a beautiful place to visit and stay.

The next morning we departed early to travel via bus to Granada.  Granada is a beautiful city that is filled with brightly painted buildings and friendly people.  From atop a church tower we saw the most beautiful view of the city.  This place is gorgeous.  We met one particular little boy that captivated our hearts here in Granada.  He couldn’t have been older than 9 years old.  When we arrived and were eating lunch around noon he approached our table and tried to sell us a hammock that he had made.  We had already spent a lot of money, so we denied him.  He was persistent though, and we ran into him at least three other times that day.  On the last time that we saw him, Jacy said, “Okay, if we see this kid one more time we are just gonna give him the money!  He is too cute!”

We saw him again at dinner.  Our friends bought him some ice cream and we approached the boy.  “Where are you from?” we asked the boy.  He was from a small town several hours away.  His mother sent him to the city to sell the hammocks that she had made.  He was staying alone in a hostel for the night and continued selling his hammocks all day.  We gave him some money for a hammock and gave him the ice cream to encourage him.  The city was full of people like this.

 

We went on a boat tour this day, as well.  The captain of our little boat was a great guy. He showed us around lake Nicaragua the way only a native islander could (he was born on one of the small islands and later moved to the city).  He stopped us at a small island known as “Monkey Island”.  Someone brought some monkeys here years ago and here they have lived ever since.  One monkey in particular, Lucy, decided to come onto our boat and search for some food.  Mandy’s bag was zipped up, but that didn’t stop Lucy.  She quickly opened the bag and found some fried plantains within it.  She took full advantage and robbed the bag of plantains and took off.

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We stayed the night in Managua, eating local foods and meeting new people along the way.  The next day we would head to the Island of Ometepe.  This is a fairly large island located within Lake Nicaragua.  The boat ride to the island was not very fun, but once we arrived we realized that it was “vale la pena” (worth it!).  We rented a couple of scooters and the island was ours.  Off we went.

We ate at an amazing restaurant we found along the road where Jacy found some horses (middle photo) that she could watch while we were enjoying lunch.  Although tourism is taking off on this island, there were not many other tourists.  Local people were friendly and the one road that went through the island was easy to navigate.  We found a great hotel on the beach and stayed a couple of nights in paradise.

After returning to Managua we got to have dinner with some of Odulio’s friends from church.  His friend’s mother makes amazing food and had all of us over for dinner.  We very much enjoyed our time with them all.  It was a great way to end a great trip.

 

To me, this is the best part of traveling.  Knowing the culture and experiencing the way people live in the world first hand is the best way to be able to grow in understanding.  I never want to travel as just a tourist.  If I am going to go somewhere new, I want to go and experience that place as the people who live there experience it.  It’s the most humbling way to travel, and it promotes thankfulness as well as kills materialism in our hearts.

 

 

hospitals, heartache, and healing

I’ve found over time that the most impactful stories are usually full of hardship.  Whether it be rising action into climax of a movie or book, or a tear-jerking story of a hopeless situation turned miracle, there is always something difficult that the hero must overcome.

But, why?

Personally, I believe that hardship, trial, evil, and anything that seems unfair comes from a single event in the history of mankind.  It can all be traced back to Adam and Eve, who, given free choice, chose to disobey God’s one rule.  They had it all but wanted more.

This year has been a crazy one.  When people ask how we’re doing, Jacy and I don’t really know how to answer.  It’s been the most wild ride of our lives, and it seems to only be growing exponentially more difficult.

They say the first year of marriage is the most difficult, but I don’t think they were talking about this kind of difficulty.  I guess I should explain.

We got married last November, and I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but our wedding was amazing.  It was a dream.  We enjoyed a few months of honeymoon-like-bliss while we adjusted to our new lives (we’re traditional, that means we didn’t live together before marriage, abstaining from all the you-know-what stuff…).

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I got to marry my best friend, and I couldn’t be more thrilled.

Jacy has three sisters.  They’re all J names.  They are funny, spunky, gorgeous and everything opposite of me.  I never had a woman in my house after my mom died at age 9, so these ladies threw me for a loop (in all the best ways, of course).  The girls have great parents.  They are a tight-knit group full of memories, love, and traditions (one of which, eating Monical’s pizza every Sunday, may have to become a Hermes tradition as well).

Now, over the last couple of years I had become very close to the one male in the family.  Bill James, the most gentle, wise man you’ll ever meet.  If you’ve met him, you surely like him, and if you haven’t met him, you’re missing out.  I don’t think you can find a more genuine, kind, and thoughtful person on this earth.

Bill is one-of-a-kind.  If you’ve met his daughters, you can see how they were raised knowing how important they are.  Bill taught my wife that she is important and beautiful way before I came along.  She knew her identity because her father showed it to her.

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Okay, here comes the hard stuff I alluded to earlier.

Early this year, Bill had a major heart attack.  We’re talking 100% blockage of the widow-maker artery (who names these things?!). We about lost Bill, and I quickly learned that I had better step up and help my new family to find strength in God in the midst of a trial.  We had a rough few weeks, but God healed Bill and brought him through.  Bill is a runner.  He’s disciplined, smart, and a real fighter.  He wasn’t going down that easy.

I remember Jacy saying after the heart attack, “I don’t think I couldn’t handle something like that again.  It was too hard.”

It’s funny (not actually funny, but ironic), that we say things like that and then watch from afar as we are thrown into yet another impossibly difficult hardship.  It seems to always happen that way.  We doubt our strength, our ability, our courage, and then are forced to see that we do have what it takes.  That we can overcome.

In June, as a result of many factors that we still don’t understand, Bill ended up in a hospital in Knoxville, TN getting brain surgery to remove blood clots that had formed there from internal bleeding.  We all got down there as quick as we could.  When we arrived, Bill, through tired eyes, said that he felt bad that we had made the long trip just to see him.  The next day Bill was in a coma.

Skip ahead four weeks of hotel rooms with five women, long car rides, and sleepless nights full of tears and shouting at God, and we finally found some breakthrough.

The doctor said that Bill was unlikely to wake up.  If he did wake up, it was likely that he would have a much different quality of life for the rest of his life.

Two days after that report, after prayer and fasting of the church, Bill began to awaken.  The doctor was in awe.  Fast forward a couple of weeks, and we finally got Bill back to Bloomington.  The trip was hard for him, but today (August 10) I can say that he is responding to commands, trying to open his eyes, and is on his way to recovery.

I’m not trying to make a terrible situation look like something good. Instead, I want to attempt to look at the bigger picture.

God’s word is full of promises that at times seem to be unattainable.  In times of trial, I think the enemy shouts lies at us, and many times we grab them and choose to make them the truth. I have found that the lies look differently in my wife’s life than mine, but they exist in both.  We’ve spent a lot of nights crying and being angry at God for what is happening.  I’m thankful that we have such a loving Father that He allows us to feel and be angry.

I don’t know why bad things happen to good people.  I won’t attempt to pretend like I see why all of this is happening.

But I know this: “we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

Through this time, I’ve often looked at how God used the death of my mom for good.  I look at who he has created me to be, and even how I am able to help and sustain my wife and her family through this time because of the trial that I endured at a young age.  We never want to choose for bad things to happen to us.  But the glory of God is hidden in trials.  He works it together for good, even though there was no good in it at all.

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At the end of all of this, I want James 1:2-4 to be true about the way this has affected my family, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

I know that at the end of this messy year, we will be able to look back and see God’s hand on every part of this story.  We will be able to say that God was faithful even though we weren’t.  We’ll be more equipped to help others in their time of need.  And most importantly, we will have learned to say, like Bob Sorge,

God, I don’t understand you.  But I love you.

(https://youtu.be/9FZ5uM_YfB4)

the fatal attraction

Why is it that we are attracted to the things that we know will kill us?

It’s the picture of a moth circling around a lightbulb.  All the moth wants in life is that light bulb.  He circles it for hours on end, until he finally gathers the gall to fly right into it.  Maybe he survives the first time, so he tries a couple more times.  Maybe he still survives, after all, he has a high pain tolerance.  The next night, he tries again.  This time he only lets the light tempt him for a couple of minutes, then flies straight for it — and dies.

So it is with man and sin.

We get as close as we can to the line, until we no longer have the resolve to stay away from it.  We go for it.  Go all in.  Say screw it.  It felt good in the moment.

“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.”  – Romans 8:5

“We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him.” – 1 John 5:18

We’re called to be people without sin.  We’re called to live according to the Spirit, and put to death the deeds of the flesh.

If you keep messing with that sin, it will kill you.  Don’t give it the chance.  Do what you know is right, and destroy the work of the Enemy in your life.

P.s. – We all struggle, and are going to struggle.  But sinning is not something that you have to do.  You can overcome it.  I can overcome it. We can overcome it.  And we must overcome it if we want to walk in power.

Remember, even if you screw up, which you will,  “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.  For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” – Romans 8:1

10 Years

Ten years ago tomorrow a 9 year old version of myself was just about to get off of his big yellow bus only to find the most shocking and testing news he would likely ever find.  This boy was unmarked still from the trials of life; a mother’s boy if there had ever been one.  An innocent and young boy.  A boy that would fake sick just so that he could come home from school early to just have the opportunity to take a nap with his momma.  But on this day–this day that he would never forget–he came home to find a barrage of police vehicles and the news of his mother’s sudden death.  An aneurism, they said.  It couldn’t be predicted, they said.  Boom, it hit, and boom, she was gone.

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Kelly Jenee Hermes was a laugh-loving woman if I’ve ever known one.  We lived on a golf course, and people say that they could hear her from a mile away, laughing and having a good time.  She knew how to be a mom, I can tell you that.  I was young enough that I don’t remember many aspects of her, but the ones I remember I remember with such fondness that it’s one of my favorite past-times to simply think upon the woman that she was.  She could care for me in a way that I only wish I can one day be able to re-create for others.  It’s funny, the memories I have I can laugh at… her forcing me to sit at the table in an effort to eat my vegetables while I beg my dad to let me go, because after all, he didn’t eat them either.  Her dealing with my intense nervousness as a child with such care… “Mom, I want to go to Sunday school but my stomach won’t let me!”  I wish that I had more memories like the time my dad and brother went away for the weekend, and my mom made it a huge deal.  “This is Mom and Dakota’s weekend,” she said.  She bought me my very own puppy;  we watched the Grinch while I wore my matching Grinch footie pajamas.  “We’d better take some pictures of this moment so that we never forget!”  She knew how to give quality time, and she knew that my heart lit up when she wanted to be with only me for even a minute.  What a blessing that I could even have known this woman.  I’ll surely never forget the great impact she made on me in 9 short years.

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It isn’t hard to think about her.  It’s not hard to tell people about what happened.  What’s hard is to think about the fact that I have forgotten almost everything about her that I wanted to remember.  That my wife won’t know her mother-in-law.  That my children won’t have a grandmother on their dad’s side.  That my dad’s heart is still broken over his wife’s death.  That my grandparents still cry when they talk about her….every time.  When I sit down and really think about her… really think on the woman that I can’t know right now… I mourn.  I want her to be with me.  I want her to see what I am becoming.

What’s crazy, though, is this:  I am 100% content with the way God has used her death for His glory.  After I finally stopped running from the God whom I thought was evil for taking my beloved mother, I realized I had fallen into His arms of mercy.  I had been completely caught off guard by a God who had been with me all along.  He had been taking care of me, keeping me out of evil things. He’s healed the wound that was created by my mom’s death 100 fold.  He has overflowed my heart with His love.

I can’t express how thankful I am to know a God who can use my greatest trial for good.

Sure, I still feel as though I missed out on a lot as a kid.  I missed out on having family dinners.  I missed out on having a mom to cry with me when I was having bad days.  I missed dating advice, in general.  But I have a sure testimony of how God has looked out for me, and walked with me for my entire life.  He has provided, time and time again, people to fulfill the roles that I needed to have fulfilled.  I’ve never been left alone, and it’s all thanks to Him.

It makes me think of Jesus, the way I mourn for my mom.  She has gone, but I’ll see her again one day.  I still have memories of her.  I have pictures, landmarks, family members that knew her.  So it is with the Lord.  I have His word.  I have His beloved Holy Spirit.  But I don’t have Jesus here with me.  I can’t lean back against Him like John did.  I can’t eat with Him.  I can’t walk with Him in the cool of the day.

So I mourn in this time.  I mourn until the coming of my King.  Just as I mourn to see my beloved mom again.

I mourn, for His glory.

waters.

Image I had the opportunity to get to go to Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica this weekend.  The experience was good, and I finally got to see a beach and get sunburnt here.

 

But I got some pretty cool revelation that I would like to share. 🙂

 

I was watching the sunset the first night I was there, and couldn’t help but to be amazed the sheer tranquility of everything.  Everything was SO HUGE but so tranquil.  The waves were calm, the sun wasn’t harsh, the people were walking and talking quietly.  It was absolutely beautiful.The second day I went to another beach and found myself doing what every man has to do — trying to fight the waves.  I would stand strong when a big one came and attempt to stand my ground by my own strength.   These waves weren’t messing around, so I didn’t succeed but a few times.  It was also so fun to try to stand in the same spot for a few waves, and feel the sand under my feet collapse time after time, aligning with Jesus’ saying in Matthew 7:

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

But what I loved most was the difference.  The first night the waves were a completely different idea all-together.  They were easy, calm, loving, and inviting.  But the second day, the waves were a challenge.  They were strong, forceful, powerful, and sometimes scary.  They were gonna have their way, and you weren’t going to stop them.  There was something really cool knowing that I couldn’t stop them, too.  I think these differences encapsulate who Jesus is.  In revelation, John describes Jesus like this:

His feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters.

His voice was like the roar of many waters.  He can speak, and stir everything up. He can knock you down with only a word. His voice is stronger than anything you can imagine.  His voice has the power of every wave and massive amount of water, plus more.  This blew me out of the water (punny) when I started thinking about it.  Not only is it strong, and causes us to think upon our sin and follow Him, but His voice is tranquil and loving as well.  It invites us to come in and spend time with Him in the calm of the night.  I don’t know, this really rocks me.

I also thought of another verse that I think is amazing.

“Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it. If a man offered for love all the wealth of his house, he would be utterly despised.”  Song of Solomon 8:7.

There is a whole lot of waters.  But it can’t quench the Bridegroom’s love for us.  His love is so deep, so grand, so huge, that even all of the water on earth and around heaven (see genesis 1 if you don’t know what I mean) can’t quench it.  They can’t drown it out.  It’s here to stay, and it’s stronger than all of the water you can think of. 

 

I just really fell in love with the relationship between water and Jesus this weekend.  So that was fun. 🙂

a call to unity.

This post is prompted by some strong convictions I’ve had for about a year now.  Recently, while reading one of those hate blogs targeted at IHOP-KC (hate when I do that, it only causes anger to spring up in me), I decided it may be beneficial to post about a topic I think is at the forefront of Jesus’ church today.  Unity.

I appeal to you, brothers,  by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no  divisions among you, but that you be united  in the same mind and the same judgment.  For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is  quarreling among you, my brothers.  What I mean is that  each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow  Apollos,” or “I follow  Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.”  Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you  baptized in the name of Paul?

1st Corinthians 1:10-13

Upon reading this scripture, I think it’s very obvious that Jesus wants His church to be united in both mind and judgement.  I have seen many take the phrase “unity in the church” vastly out of context and say that it refers to unity within their church.  For instance, I go to so and so church here in Normal, and we strive for unity within our church.  That is a great idea, to be united to others in your church, and Jesus would love for that to happen, but it cannot be forgotten that we are ALL His church.  Everyone who is born again is a part of Christ’s church.  It doesn’t matter who your pastor is, who baptized you, or what theologian you agree with.  Christ is not divided.

In biblical times, the church was separated by city.  The church of Ephesus, the church of Corinth, etc.  Obviously, now, that is not the case.  It is my conviction that the reason for this is that we are all human and all interpret the scripture incorrectly sometimes, causing division and denominations to rise.  however, this does not mean that we have to hate the other denominations.  It is so important to embrace all Christ loving churches with love!  I can’t stress this enough.

Time for a little back story.  Upon being saved, I was going to a reformed church.  Looking back, I am filled with joy at the people who were around me in that church, and I still love each of them.  If it weren’t for that church, and Jesus working through them, I would not be who I am today.  I went hard in reformed theology, and loved debating and finding where I stand on issues such as “once saved always saved” or Calvinism vs. Arminianism.  I really fell in love with the theology and the fact that God chose me simply because of His love.

Then, I began going to a more charismatic gathering of young people.  At first, I was a little out of my element.  So much there was different from what I was used to, and my first reaction was to become offended because it was, simply, a little strange.  Thankfully, the apparent love for Jesus that I found in this gathering brought me back a couple more times.

The third or fourth time I went back, God wrecked me with His love.  The only way to describe what happened is to look at Acts 2 and at Pentecost (here I go being all controversial).  I have never been the same since this event, nor do I want to return to where I was before it.  Many, many, people, whom I love dearly, came to me, after I told some whom I was close to about this, with concern.  “I think that is demonic, Dakota, you should really be careful.”  I want to make this clear, I absolutely love their concern for me, and to this day appreciate that they encouraged the testing of every Spirit (1st John 4:1).  Upon testing, I have found a God who is more jealous for me than I would have ever imagined.  I have been so blessed by Him, and I only pray that He would pour out His Spirit on His whole church in this way, too.  So, yes, this means I believe the gifts are still present today (as is clear biblically), and to get even more controversial, yes, I speak in tongues (a lot). haha.

The reason I give this history is because I want you all to know that I have been on both sides of the coin.  I have been reformed, and would now consider my theology more ‘charismatic’ although I do not like that term (because many think ‘chaotic’ when hearing it).  And I love both sides of the coin, as well.  That all being said…

This is my offense.  I am absolutely, positively, fed up with the separation in the Church today.  And I believe Jesus is, as well.

Guys, this is His bride we’re talking about.  This is His beloved, whom He is coming back to dwell with forever.

It is not okay for us to have thoughts in our heart that our negative toward our brothers and sisters only because we see certain things a bit differently.

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.  1 Cor. 13:12

None of us have perfect theology.  We are all wrong in one place or another, because we simply can’t fully comprehend God’s heart in our flesh.  Yes, some people in the church practice things that are clearly a bit off, I would agree.  But I don’t think that is cause to have pride in our hearts that “our way is better” or “they really don’t know Jesus”.  It’s such a dangerous place to be, when we are looking at God’s children and judging them because they are a little different from us.

We are called to love our brothers and sisters, and that is what we must do.

I am convinced that God wants to accomplish great things in His church in these last days (look at me, being so controversial), and our separation is making it very difficult.  Just imagine if we could unite the way Jesus wants us to.  Entire cities gathering together to pray and worship, and minister to the poor.  This, I believe is what we are going to start seeing, as long as we can all get over our slight differences and embrace the body of Christ as a whole.

If you are a little thrown off with the whole “charismatic” movement, people, or church… or even me, I definitely invite you to shoot me an email or ask me to meet up with you and I would love to work through some of the stuff I believe with you in the word.  I really don’t want to be the cause for any separation anywhere, and would love to try my best to be completely transparent with my beliefs.

So, all that being said, I think our reaction is simple.  We need to stop the gossip, secrets, judging, and hating on other churches that are a part of Christ’s bride.  We need to embrace both the body and truth, and work together to become a church that is united under the banner of the cross.  This might mean some sacrifice.   It might mean that I don’t speaking in tongues when I go to a reformed bible study.  It might mean that we don’t talk about controversial subjects around people we know will disagree.  But we can find unity in the fact that Jesus died on the cross for us, and that, really, is all that matters.