In my ears


Great son by Jon Foreman.
I hate all your show and pretense
The hypocrisy of your praise
The hypocrisy of your festivals
I hate all your show
Away with your noisy worship
Away with your noisy hymns
I stomp on my ears when you’re singing ‘em
I hate all your show
Instead let there be a flood of justice
An endless procession of righteous living, living
Instead let there be a flood of justice
Instead of a show
Your eyes are closed when you’re praying
You sing right along with the band
You shine up your shoes for services
There’s blood on your hands
You turned your back on the homeless
And the ones that don’t fit in your plan
Quit playing religion games
There’s blood on your hands
Instead let there be a flood of justice
An endless procession of righteous living, living
Instead let there be a flood of justice
Instead of a show
I hate all your show
Let’s argue this out
If your sins are blood red
Let’s argue this out
You’ll be one of the clouds
Let’s argue this out
Quit fooling around
Give love to the ones who can’t love at all
Give hope to the ones who got no hope at all
Stand up for the ones who can’t stand at all, all
I hate all your show
I hate all your show
I hate all your show
I hate all your show
Instead let there be a flood of justice
An endless procession of righteous living, living
Instead let there be a flood of justice
Instead of a show
I hate all your show

God Box


My faith has been so incredibly challenged lately.  So, to start, we must define faith.

"Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.  This is what the ancients were commended for.  By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible." - Hebrews 11:1-3

"belief that is not based on proof" - Webster's Dictionary

The amount of faith, based on those definitions, that I have....is small.  I have constructed an origami box that I allow God to fill.  Here's the problem with origami.  It's made out of paper.  It can be torn to shreds by anything inside wanting out.  With God, I'm finding that I first have to first open the box, and tell Him that I don't want to keep Him in there anymore.  I need to release Him from being my pet, and allow Him to change my world.

Most of this is probably me just sharing my journey, but I want it to challenge and encourage you as well.  What size box have you built to contain the maker of the universe?  If He spoke creation into being, and breathed the stars of the sky, what is He not capable of?  Can't He do whatever it is that He pleases?  Shouldn't we ask Him to do whatever pleases Him?

Here's how this thought came about.  Two close friends and brothers invited me to a healing service.  I didn't want to go.  Why?  Because when someone says "healing service" I think of televangelists, fakes, and creepy stuff that I would be embarrassed for people to think I believe in.

Through the process of wrestling with even being invited, I started to realize that my real issue was not with the fakes out there.....it was with God.  I honestly believed until the past couple of days, that the creator of the universe couldn't heal a simple issue within the body.  The body that He designed.  It's like telling the maker of a car, that they can't repair something that goes wrong with it.

What does that  mean?  I forced myself to go last night.  I walked in with a very simple prayer: God, don't let me walk out of this building the same as I'm walking in.  Change me.

Here's how He changed me.  There are people called by God to do His work, even when that work scares people.  People praying for healing corporately, and praying over each other, and with each other, begging God to be glorified.......that's a beautiful thing.  Do I still have MS?  As far as I know.  Is God able to heal it if He chooses to?  Yes.  Because He is God.  Should I be seeking prayer for healing with Godly people who love Him and me?  Yes, because the sick are supposed to want healing.  People lived their lives waiting for, and encountering the healing power of Jesus when He walked this earth.  What changed?  Why is divorce incurable now?  Why is cancer more powerful than God?  Why is depression more enticing than Hope?  Why is the human condition a hatred for God?

Here is how I walked out.  It's a very simple thing that I believe with all of my heart now.

If You heal me, I will be healed.

Think about that.  Not just from a temporal finite perspective.  It has eternal implications.  I even encourage you to wrestle with that, and be brave enough to pray it.  In every area that you have built God's dwelling place.

Open the box, and live in His dwelling place.

If You heal me, I will be healed.

in His love,
brad

Elijah: The heart of being human.

Thought I would share this video.  I had fun making this one.
video

Character

A man's character is not built or defined by the obstacles in his path.

A man's character is built and defined by the hope in which he endures.



just something i'm wrestling with after my visit at the doctor today.  where is your hope?

in His love,
brad

The Necessary Hierarchy of Love

the other day i posted on the necessary hatred of sin, and what i believe that needs to look like in my/our life as the people of Christ.  today, i want to share where i believe that comes from, and what it leads to....love.  life transforming, earth shattering love.

here we go:

1.  First, I must love God.  (Deuteronomy 6:5)
2.  Second, I must love my wife.  (Ephesians 5:28-33)
3.  Third, I must love the body of Christ.  (1 Peter 3:8-9)
4.  Fourth, I must love the world.  (John 3:16)

Why?

1.  I have to love God, the true God, in order to even know what love is.  God is love, and if I don't love Him, the creator of everything, how can I begin to love my wife properly?
2.  I have to love my wife...AS CHRIST LOVED THE CHURCH.  Sacrificially, with endurance, joy, and service.  If I don't love the person closest to me on this planet in such a way, how can I love anyone outside of my marriage?
3.  I must love the body of Christ, because it's what I'm called to do.  I don't always feel like it, and sometimes I hate it, because a lot of Christians make me mad.  BUT, they are the body of Christ as much as I am.  Christ loves me relentlessly.  I must do the same.  If I can't love my brothers and sisters, how can I bring anyone home to meet my "family"?
4.  I must love the world because God so loved the world to give His ONLY son.  And to bring it back to #1, if I love Him with all of my heard, soul, mind and strength......won't I love what He loves, and hate only what He hates?

Why am I not in that line up?  I'm a human being, so loving myself is natural and not something I have to work on.  Even when I'm depressed, I naturally value me over everything on the above list.  I'm trying to honor God by loving what He is making to be.....by loving the things I just wrote about.

Just something to chew on.  Would love to hear your thoughts.

In His love,
brad

The Necessary Hierarchy of Hatred.

I'm really challenged right now, and would love to pass it on.  I've been contemplating sin, and God's hatred of sin.  You've all heard it:  "Love the sinner, hate the sin."  Unfortunately, we don't do that, we hate the sinner.  I've been praying about this whole thought, and want to share what God is teaching me.  Let me also say this, to prepare your heart with my motives:  A hatred for sin, doesn't lead to beating people up emotionally, it leads to loving people fully.  Wrestle with that.  Our hatred for sin, not sinners, should lead us to teach salvation to the world around us.

Here is the order in which I believe I/we must hate sin:

1.  First, I must hate the sin in my own life.
2.  Second, I must hate the sin in my marriage/family.
3.  Third, I must hate sin in the body of Christ.
4.  Fourth, I must hate the sin in the world.

Why?

1.  If I don't hate the sin in my own life, I can't teach my wife/family how to live and walk by the Spirit.

2.  If I don't hate the sin in my marriage/family, I can't teach the body of Christ how to live and walk by the Spirit.

3.  If I don't hate the sin in the body of Christ, how can I claim to love?  To reach the world, the church must live and walk by the Spirit.

4.  If I don't hate the sin in the world, how can I say I love God?  Everyone has an eternity to spend somewhere.

What's the point of this post?

Love God so much that you hate sin.  Hate sin so much that you love sinner's.  Love sinner's so much that they learn to love the God....and begin to hate sin.

Just a simple thought I've been wrestling with.  I don't have it all figured out, and I'm still begging God to reveal more.  Share your thoughts.

In His Love,
brad

great day at Relevant!


God is so incredibly faithful!  we had a great time at church today, worshiping as a body through music, communion, teaching and offering.  what a challenging day.  the big idea:  The Root Determines The Fruit.  What does that mean?  Read Galatians 5:19-26.  Today we went through 22-26.

Get this, please:

When the Holy Spirit is in control of your life, HE will produce love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  You can't produce those things in your life, and if you have some without the others.....they're counterfeit!  wow! and ouch!

but you know what's awesome?  those things don't contradict the law of God.  they live it out!  beautiful.

stop trying to grow in these areas.  start surrendering to God, at the cross of Christ, and let the Holy Spirit control your life.....and these beautiful things we all want to be....will be produced in us.

i pray that every eye that reads this will pursue the glory of God this week.

Surely we can change something....if we're changed first.

in His love,
brad

Contrast

Darkness.
People stumbling, trying to find their way out.
But they can't see the door.

Light a lantern.
Everyone can see, because the dark is only the absence of light.
When light is introduced, darkness dies.

Even when it feels like it does, darkness has no power over light.
Step out of the shadows.
Step into the Light.

Painfully, nothing is hidden in it.
Everyone will see all our imperfections.
Everyone will see the parts of us that embarrass us.
But in the light, there is grace.
Because all in the light, remember the darkness.
And we all have our embarrassing parts as well.

Please, step out of the shadows.
Step into the Light.

in His love,
brad o'hara

The kind of man I want to be.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.  In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church—for we are members of his body.
-Ephesians 5:25-30

Excited!


Time flies!  i just realized that in a little over two weeks, some amazing people will be visiting with us.  i'm so excited to be challenged by their faith, to hang out, catch up, and even record some music!

Greg and Beth, we love you guys, and can't wait to see you!

in His love,
brad

taste and see

what if today is the last day you have the ability to see?  what image will be engraved in your memory?

what if today is the last day you have the ability to hear?  what are you filling your mind with?

what if today is the last day you have the ability to speak?  what words will your community remember you by?

what if today is the last day you're alive?  what are you spending your time on?


i'm not asking you these questions in an effort to make you live out of fear.  quite the contrary actually.  i want to challenge you to live with intentionality, especially if you claim to be a follower of Jesus.  Please don't waste your life any longer, because tomorrow is nothing more than a dream.  please don't live out of your circumstances and fears today.


take a moment today to go outside and look at God's glory revealed in nature.

take a moment today to listen to the groaning of creation, including your own heart.

take a moment to speak the gospel of peace to world around you.

My heart says of you, "Seek his face!"
Your face, LORD, I will seek.



Do not hide your face from me,
do not turn your servant away in anger;
you have been my helper.

Do not reject me or forsake me,
O God my Savior.



Though my father and mother forsake me,
the LORD will receive me.



Teach me your way, O LORD;
lead me in a straight path
because of my oppressors.



Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes, 
for false witnesses rise up against me,
breathing out violence.



I am still confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the LORD
in the land of the living.



Wait for the LORD; 
be strong and take heart
and wait for the LORD.




in love,
brad

Rambling.


My mind wanders through these waters
and I know you must be wondering
Where am I running to
While I'm lying next to you

Well the neon lights that fill the sky
and the night that fill my eyes
are getting so much heavier
and it's hard to fall asleep

I'm searching for some kind of peace
An inch of space to simply breath
But the clowns that dance around the throne
keep my mind from you

Won't you dim those lights
and fill the night
Take my weary hand
and bind these wandering feet

I've grown tired of the lullabies
sung by proud puckered lips
If the ear doesn't hear the heart
How can we beat in sync

My mind wanders through these waters
and you'll catch yourself wondering
Why would I run.....
When I can lay next to you.

How can we work together?

I just had an amazing meeting with a police officer in Williamsburg, in which we talked about how we can work together to have a positive influence in the community, especially with teenagers.  I'm really pumped up to say that we're meeting again in two weeks with some teens......to learn how we can support them in owning this.

I'm a firm believer that communities change from the inside out.  I'm excited to say that our teens want to reach their generation.  That's more than I can say for my generation.  I hope that by the time I die, I see a generation so abandoned of themselves for the sake of Christ, that the church is viewed as a revolution.

What's more revolutionary than living for Christ?

Seriously........answer that question.

No.....don't keep reading......trying to avoid it.

Answer it.

If you don't think it's revolutionary, you need to examine the Christ you serve.  I would argue that He's not THE Christ, but one you've made in your own image, for your own comfort.  We all have done, and do that.  Let it piss you off.  It should.

One more question.

Do you want the church to look how God wants it to?  Or do you want it to look how you want it to?

We have the opportunity to live in such a manner, that we'll be the church.  God  is so clear about what the church is, and who it belongs to.  One body.  One mind.  One Holy Spirit. One Christ as head.

Join me in this journey towards the heart of Christ.  Be willing to abandon all you hold tightly concerning the way church and faith should look.  Be willing to have only Christ, and consider that more than enough.

How can we work together, as different as we are, to reach our communities with the gospel of Christ?

How can we work together?

I love you all.

brad

WOW!

Travis is getting ripped on vacation!

first O'Hara family reunion




i love my family.  we had the chance to get all of us together for the first family reunion in June.  i don't know why i'm posting this now.....just saw the picture and thought i'd share.

I believe...

Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

He humbled Himself and left heaven, to rescue His people.

He was crucified, and became the only way to be reconciled to God.

He was buried, and rose again from the grave, to fulfill scripture.

Through Him alone, our shackles of bondage are broken.  Anything else is false teaching.

Following Him will cost you everything.  He's not a "live as you want" card.  He calls us to die, to live.

He's coming back for His church.

He's the only thing I want to know.

These things I believe.


in love,
brad

brad, i'm pretty sure you have multiple sclerosis...

these are words i'm still really apathetic and dead to.  i'm wrestling God right now.  i had a mri a couple of weeks ago, and the doctor called me he next day to talk.  he's pretty sure this is what i have, based on the scarring in my spine, etc...  they want to do more tests, and i want them to do more tests, because very honestly, i don't want to have it.  it will be a joyful, magnificent day if the doctor walks in the room and says he was wrong, and i'm fine.


i've really wrestled with posting this blog.  so much so, that I wrote it last week, and have looked at it every day since.  so.....why share this?  i'm not being dramatic, i promise.  i don't want you to feel sorry for me, i promise.  i don't want you to treat me like i'm disabled, it will tick me off.  i feel the same as before i was told.


it's because i want to be transparent with where i am.  it's because i know other people are on this journey, and scared to death, just like i am, and need community, as i need community.  it's because i want to offer other people the chance to love jeanette and i the way we desire to love other people.  it's because i'm scared to death.  it's because i want to pursue God in this.  it's because i want you to pursue God because of this.  it's because my Father doesn't make mistakes, and He wove me together perfectly for His glory, in His image, with nothing but Love in His heart, and i believe that with all of my heart.


a really powerful piece of scripture has become tattooed on my heart lately, and i feel like God is going to use me to encourage people who are hopeless and hurting.  i just pray i have the courage to walk this journey out.  here is what is tattooed on my heart right now...

Matthew 10:28-31
“Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell. What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered.  So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.


what does this mean to me right now?  it means that, even if i do have MS, it can do nothing more to me than destroy my body. It will never have any say over my soul.  ONLY GOD holds that.  and i am more valuable than a whole flock of sparrows, which He knows intimately!  i have to share this truth.  i have to teach the gospel of salvation through Christ alone, to as many people as i can.  because i want every soul to rest in Him, so you don't have to fear anything but Him.  you are loved.  you are not crippled, or disabled.  you are beautifully woven together.  you are cherished.  you are the only you that exists.  you are intimately and desperately pursued by your Creator......by the King of Kings Himself.  you are free to love and be loved.  healthy or sick, your body will fade away, and your strength will fail.  it's like the withering grass of the field.  your soul.......that's what matters.  so lift up your head, and know that you are loved.


God loves you.
God knows you.  He still loves you.


for His glory, and in love,
brad o'hara

Your love endures forever

Sitting in a coffee shop right now, and this song just popped up on my iPod.  it's a great old Third Day song.  look it up if you get a chance.  if you can't, give it your own melody.



Though the treasures of
This life may fade
Your love endures forever


They will pass away

Things that man has made
But your love endures forever



Now I can't explain, or even understand
Why you gave your life, to save sinful man
But I know it's true, I've seen it myself
Your love endures forever


Though the seasons change

With the passing time
Your love endures forever


And the sun will fade

If just for the night
Your love endures forever


Though our pains and joys

Will come and go
Your love endures forever


Even in my fears

I will always know
That your love endures forever...



Now I can't explain, or even understand
Why you gave your life, to save sinful man
But I know it's true, I've seen it myself
Your love endures forever

Breath Deep Today

take a deep breath
slow down
open your eyes and capture a memory of His creativity
while you can

time is nothing more than a measuring stick
and we don't hold it
all we hold is the choice to worship God or rob Him

i beg you today to take a deep breath
open your eyes
love out loud
there's so much more to life than just getting through the day
God opened my eyes to this truth


i long for those i love to cry...

"For I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.  I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly." - Galatians 2:20-21

in love,
brad o'hara

You aren't alone.

That's such a simple statement, and yet, a hard reality to realize.  I can't escape the thought.  Sometimes I run away from it, because it's more epic to be alone in a struggle, or feel like no one could possibly  understand my heart, hurt, and what I'm going through.

Read this carefully....there are people who have been, and are, exactly where you are.  You're not alone in your humanity.  You're not alone in your hurt.  You're not alone in your sin.  You're not alone in your joy.  You're not alone in your desperate need for a savior....you get the picture.

This isn't a profound statement, but it can profoundly change the way you live.  Seek community.  More importantly, seek Christ.  Because, I know 100%, that He causes unity.  A unity that goes much deeper than circumstance.  My prayer, is that, anyone reading this simple, silly little part of the internet, will get more curious about Christ.  He gave it ALL.  ON PURPOSE.

for
people
like
you
and
me.
love,
brad o'hara

Pursued

here's the thought:  we are pursued.

we live in the middle of a war, and i believe the more involved you are, the more you feel the battle for your time.  lately i've been attacked spiritually on a lot of fronts, and i got really depressed, was ready to quit doing what i do, and was begging God to let go of me for "a little bit".  why?  because i felt so pursued by the devil.  to a lot of people, that may sound stupid, and some people would say i've been chased by my sins and past....luckily, i'm me, and you're you.  i sketch the outline, you can draw your own conclusion.

anyways, in the middle of this feeling, thinking that the devil is going to get me to fall, and i'll be useless and begging for death....i realized something.  the devil has pursued me since i was born.  God has pursued me from creation.  wow!  and as much darkness as there is in this world, LIGHT PENETRATES DARKNESS!  not the other way around.

here's the challenge:  creatively come up with a way to express that battle in your life.  no matter where you are.  as you'll see from my piece, you don't have to feel 100% victorious yet.  you can be in the middle of it.  be honest in your work.  also, don't feel like you have to do art.  write a story, poem, book, etc...  use any medium that you are passionate about.  when you're done, if you feel comfortable with it, share it here, or post a link to it here.  or you can email me your work at brad@relevantva.com, and if you want me to post it here, say that.  otherwise, i won't post it for privacy.




relevant
relevantfacebook
Facebook