An introduction to the Eleven Blog

Welcome to the Eleven blog; this is an outlet for the more spiritual side of my writings, thoughts, and feelings to be expressed. So often I would wrap up a devotional in the morning and have something revealed to me through that time spent in the Word and with God but I had no platform, no outlet for many of those thoughts to go, save Twitter or Instagram that in many ways were limiting on exactly what, moreso how much I could publish. 140 characters, or fumbling around in creative mode didn’t really allow much room for thought or feeling, and in all reality it was simply blasting out the highlights without much regard for the real meat of the idea.

I also feel that the churches need to be written letters again. The Apostle Paul was onto something in his writings. Thoughts on paper are better worded, better put together and better saved than words shared verabally, in my feeling writing is the superior form of communication. Even Paul mentions how he is untrained in public speaking, (2 Corinthians 11:6) but without him, we would also not have a majority of the New Testament, especially if he had chosen to speak his messages instead of write them. The letters he wrote were most likely read aloud to the early church as they were forming, and are still incredibly relevant today. I seriously doubt this blog will carry that kind of weight, but if it helps one person, it’s all worth it.

So, why Eleven? The significance of Eleven is that I lead high school student small groups at my church during the 11am hour at New Vision Baptist in Murfreesboro, TN. While we are in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, I wanted a way to teach and share what is on my heart, while I cannot be with them in person, I am hoping to use this outlet as a way to ultimately share God’s love with them, and what He is teaching me weekly. Granted there is a low probability that any of them will read it, but I am generating content just in case. Who knows what boredom will lead them to. Often I end up sharing messages that God is teaching me anyway, so in the end, I’m simply writing to myself.

I will also share what we are doing in the student ministry through sermon notes. During the COVID-19 pandemic, or as I like to refer to it, the coronapocolypse, I have a lot of time on my hands, so I’m using that to build sermon notes which I would normally do for the 11am hour, just in a slightly different capacity.

I hope you enjoy the blog, for as long as it lasts. Everyday God is teaching me something new, I hope that maybe through my writings, something might be revealed to you too.

Thanks for reading,

The New Normal

You are not normal. You feel trapped. You feel sad, confused, anxious, worried, distraught, depressed. You feel like the walls are closing in, you feel powerless to stop something so small, yet that miniscule thing has just disrupted your entire existence, maybe even your livelihood. Instead of going to visit people as an act of love, we are asked to stay away, to isolate, to quarantine, to purposely distance ourselves from each other.

You are completely out of control. You realize that your life is speeding down the road in a direction you haven’t chosen, at a speed way beyond safe limits, and if you’re like me it feels like you’re not even going forward. It’s not that you were unprepared or inept at managing this crisis: you’re just not driving anymore. COVID-19 has wiped out anything and everything that we remember as “normal”.

You’re not alone.

I think that is the inherent point I am trying to make. You may not feel normal right now, but none of us feel normal. We’re all in this together. Which makes what you are feeling, exactly, precisely, and beautifully normal. I must admit that there was at least one instance over the past few weeks in which I spontaneously burst into tears and you know what? That’s okay.

Our culture painted a picture that we all believed: that we were human, top of the food chain, we bent the Earth to our will, the universe was at our command and we were to conquer it and anything that opposed us. But those lies were all just smoke and mirrors. When the smoke vanished and the mirrors broke, the illusion was that we had any control at all. Recently in Nashville, we were confronted with the most terrifying of natural phenomena, the tornado, I remember feeling hopeless, fearful, truly terrified – how does someone protect themselves against something so destructive, so powerful or at least prepare for it?

The short answer was simple: you cannot.

If I cannot control something, if it is beyond my capacity as a human being, why should I even give it more than a passing thought? I think that is why Jesus told us so often not to be afraid and not to worry. There’s a passage in Luke 12 that comes to mind: Jesus is speaking and says, ‘Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?

He tells us not to worry about what we will eat or drink, what we will wear, He said that the pagans run after such things. God the Father knows that you need them but we are to seek His kingdom and all that will be added unto us. (Luke 12:29-31) God’s got this. He WANTS us to rely on Him for our needs. God’s got this. Say it again. It is this confidence that we have, this hope in Him and the eternal life beyond this word that really reminds us that no thing really matters in this world. What matters is His kingdom, and the people around us and connected to us.

So, Chris, what then do you suggest we do when we are told to stay home and do nothing? What do we do with all this free time now that we are no longer obsessively worrying about this virus?

It’s a good time to read. It’s a great time to pray. It’s a good time to connect with people. This is an unprecedented time yes, but even more an unprecedented opportunity to connect with God, to read your Bible and to spread the love of Christ simply by picking up the phone, sending a text, hosting a zoom bible study or hey-o, writing a blog. All your excuses have been thrown out the window, and it is obvious to me that God wants to spend time with you. I can say that with the utmost confidence simply because He has gone through extraordinary measures to do so in the past, what makes today any different?

The God of the universe has been waiting for you, to spend time with you. I think now is a good time to make that a habit and our new normal.