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Weekly Blog

Your Path to Peace…Guaranteed

We began this series the first Wednesday after New Years’, with accompanying videos every Friday. We identified the things that overwhelm us (chasing the things that can’t bring us happiness), then discussed my lived experience in how to overcome them. You’ve heard me say that in understanding and internalizing the unconditional love of Jesus Christ: 

  • The unimaginable is achievable
  • There can be Heaven on earth
  • There exists a definitive path to peace, joy, and fulfillment. 

God loves you more than you’ll ever know, no matter what you’ve ever done…He made you for Greatness. You have unique and special God given gifts and we are put on this earth for a specific purpose.  

We’ve discussed the things that add to your greatness, your happiness…all the attributes of discipleship: 

  • Our identity in Christ, knowing God’s love
  • Active prayer life
  • Vibrant Sacramental life
  • Living by the teachings of Jesus
  • Authentic Fellowship
  • Serving those in need
  • Sharing the love of Christ 

Embracing the above, although simple but not easy, is the only way to live a life of peace, joy, and fulfillment. The “peace” portion of that includes the following:  

  • Surrender – it is only in me truly knowing God’s unconditional love that I could trust Him. Convinced He made me a specific way for special things; He knows me better than anyone, knowing what will make me happy. Knowing that He knows best and wants the very best for me, I can experience Greatness by surrendering to our all-loving God.  
  • Gratitude – it’s understanding that everything in my life happens for a reason, according to God’s grand plan, shaping me for His glory and my fulfillment. I may not know “why” now, but it’s all to bring me closer to God and for a greater good. In addition, I’ve learned I need to have an attitude of gratitude. 
  • I know in Humility that it’s not me, but God working thru me that Greatness occurs. Knowing this and coupled with Surrender, I give all over to Him, which relieves me of all the pressure…I just do my best and leave the rest to our Lord
  • Love, love, love. This all culminates in love, fulfilling the Great Commandments in loving God and loving our neighbors. 

That’s it. Not overly complicated…definitely not easy. But oh, is it worth it though. It works, which doesn’t mean that all your problems are going to go away, but here’s the deal. In knowing the love of Christ, you’ll have a joy that is independent of substance and circumstance. You’ll be fulfilled. You’ll have peace. 

Stay tuned for what we go to next. Shoot me a note with any requests. Reach out to me if you want to chat about any of this and as always, please email me with questions, concerns, comments, or prayer requests at Mark@MarkJosephMinistries.com.  

God Bless you on your Path to Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment!!!

Remember…God made you for Greatness!!!

Mark Joseph

 

P.S. Tomorrow marks what would have been my parents’ 60th wedding anniversary. Miss Dad, Mum. I love you!!!

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Weekly Blog

Why Share the Love of Christ?

In reading Scripture, the answer to the above is obvious. With all the things Jesus said while here on earth, two of the most impactful were the Great Commandments (Mark 12:29-31) and Great Commission, in summary…love God, love your neighbor, and share the Gospel message (love of Christ). I’d suggest that these weren’t mere suggestions from our Lord. He was specific.   

In the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20), Jesus said before ascending to Heaven, 19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

Verse 20 gets less attention that 19. Jesus tells us, “behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age”. Related, it’s my lived experience that the only path to peace, joy, and fulfillment is to say “yes” to Jesus. It’s what Jesus promises us in verse 20. 

Saying “yes” to Jesus means being His Disciple, a part of which is making other Disciples. The question is “how” do we do this. My first suggestion is to not hit people over the head with our Bibles. Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care. We need to love them first, where they are, for who they are. 

We’ve all heard the merits of teaching a man to fish as opposed to feeding him a fish. Discipleship calls on us to teach others how to become teachers of teachers, i.e. Disciples making Disciples. To do so, we need to exercise humility: 

  • The discipleship relationship is not that of a doctor to a patient, teacher to a student, or even a Priest to a parishioner 
  • It is founded in a personal relationship with a brother or sister in Christ. 
  • The intent isn’t to mold versions of ourselves, but to help others be Disciples for Christ, to be like Jesus 

As St. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ”. There are several elements to evangelizing:

  • Be prayerful – you can’t give away what you don’t have
  • Pray for those God puts in front of you
  • Build relationships with others – learn their stories so that you can share in a way that is relevant to them. 

Pope Paul VI stated, “Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses”. We’re called to share our faith, which means sharing our story. We do so by sharing…

  • Your life before you recognized Christ as a meaningful part of it
  • How you came to know Jesus Christ (your conversion)
  • Your life in Christ, including the challenges
  • Make the invitation to others to join you on the journey

We hear of Peter and the other fishermen dropping their nets. Others leave behind their former lives to follow Jesus, which is the most important decision a person can ever make. Our call is to follow Jesus consciously and intentionally with our whole heart, soul, mind, and strength. Once made, that decision should drive everything in your life. Once made, you have the opportunity for peace, joy, and fulfillment. 

Remember, being a Disciple includes making Disciples. If interested in a model that is engaging, effective, and free of charge, go to https://steubenvilleconferences.com/discipleship-quads/, or contact me. I’d be happy to share with you. 

As always, please email me at Mark@MarkJosephMinistries.com with questions, concerns, comments, or prayer requests. 

God Bless you on your Path to Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment!!!

Remember…God made you for Greatness!!!

Mark Joseph

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Weekly Blog

The Sacrament…What’s In Them For Me? 

Two weeks ago, we spoke about how most Christians compartmentalize their faith…it’s a Sunday thing, with many of us living the other 6 days of the week devoid of God. In the following week’s blog, we established how God is more loving, knowing, and present than anyone possibly can be in your life.   

Transitioning, I’d like you to imagine yourself a professional athlete or Olympian, or in the arts, i.e., artist, singer/musician, or actor, where you only become your best and most fulfilled in following specific disciplines. You’re wildly successful, fulfilled in the progress you make with all the hard work you put in, further gratified in how you perform in the big game or on the main stage. 

Here’s how that applies to you…while you probably don’t (I don’t) have the notoriety or fame of a superstar athlete or artist, like them you were given very specific and unique gifts and talents from our Lord. Also like them, you were given a special God given purpose for your life and made for greatness. 

What we’ve also established in this series is that in addition to understanding your identity in Christ, knowing your “why”, and embracing and pursuing your talents and purpose, that the only way to live a life of peace, joy, and fulfillment (wanted by all of us), is to avail ourselves to God’s love, grace, mercy, and wisdom. 

Prayer is obviously a big part of the above. So are the Sacraments. Let’s start with the Sunday Mass. Some suggestions. Learn about the Mass. Do an internet search. Buy a book. Mark Hart wrote “Behold the Mystery”…great read. Dr. Scott Hahn has written books on the Liturgy….very good as well. The Mass came alive for me once I understood all the Mass parts. Some other things: 

  • Get a Mass Journal and take notes, especially related to the Homilies. 
    • You become an active listener, not being distracted…noting what’s important to you
    • There’s always a nugget for future reference. Regardless of your past experience, there’s always something in the Homily or Readings worth noting. Try it.  
  • Pray through the Mass parts. I say this following the consecration of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus…”My Lord, My God, Jesus Christ, body, blood, soul, and divinity, come into my mind, heart, body, and soul”.  
  • Sing…worship our Lord – singing is praying twice. 

Doing all of these things will make you more engaged. The more engaged you are, the more you’ll get out of the Liturgy. Try it. Another thing to try is going to Mass more than just on Sundays. Now going daily, I love the simplicity of the daily Liturgy. There’s a beauty to it. Everyone knows one another…great community. Receiving the Eucharist daily strengthens me spiritually and emotionally. Try it if you can…you may be surprised. 

Speaking of the Eucharist, one thing I didn’t mention last week…for me tying prayer to the Eucharist. While the specific place isn’t critical, I’d suggest picking a place and time you can do it daily…setting your watch to it, just like how you schedule your meals or possibly your workouts. The place I love to pray is in Church, prior to daily Mass, in front of Jesus in the Eucharist. It’s always my best prayer time. 

There’s a story of a Peasant from Ars, France, who daily prayed in front of Jesus in the Eucharist, exposed in the Monstrance. When asked about it he responded, “He looks at me and I just look back at Him”. It can be that simple. Jesus wants nothing more than for us to be in relationship with Him…pray as you’d like. He loves it all.  

Confession – I feel sorry for our non-Catholic Christian brothers and sisters, who don’t have this Sacrament. Going to Confession only sparingly prior to my conversion, my first afterwards was life changing. With me a blubbering mess, Fr. Steve was so kind, patient, loving, and “in Christo” forgiving. It was so cleansing and freeing. While the Church indicates that we need to go at least annually, I now go monthly…thank God!!!  

If you would have told me 15 years ago that the Sacraments would change my life, I would have said you’re crazy. Well, they have. Not only have I grown spiritually, but I’m a better husband, father, son, brother, friend, and mentor. My faith has also been instrumental in me honing my talents and fulfilling my purpose. Lastly, my faith, our God, is critical to me living a life of peace, joy, and fulfillment. Praise God!!!!

As always, please email me at Mark@MarkJosephMinistries.com with any questions, comments, concerns, suggestions (of future blog posts or other), or prayer requests. 

God Bless you on your Path to Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment!!!

Remember…God made you for Greatness!!!

Mark Joseph

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Weekly Blog

Do You Compartmentalize Your Faith?

Here’s the thing, most of us Christians compartmentalize our faith, doing it on Sunday and living our lives without considering God much the other 6 days of the week. My lived experience is that there is a very practical reality to our faith. Recognizing and embracing our God given talents, understanding and pursuing our God given purpose, brings us the peace, joy, and fulfillment we all strive for. 

There’s a practical way of getting there. Consistent with God’s call on our lives, which comes from the Great Commandments and Great Commission, both from Scripture, we need to understand our “why”. You may have heard of Simon Sinek, author of Start with Why and Find your Why. Simon writes and speaks about our “why”, as opposed to our “how” or “what”. He indicates that our “why” is what motivates us, gets us up in the morning, drives us, and keeps us going. 

In addition to his books, you can find YouTube videos by Simon on how to develop your “why”. I can send you a document that will guide you through the process, should you desire. Just email me. I’d recommend watching The Golden Circles, where Simon describes the concept:

Having gone through Simon’s process, my “why” is to share the unconditional love of Jesus Christ and the lessons God our Father taught me with as many people as possible, so that they can live lives of true peace, joy, fulfillment, and find their greatness. I’d invite and encourage you to understand your “why”.

The next step in the process is to understand your talents, your unique gifts, given to you by God. Should you desire, there are several tools that you can use to determine your talents, motivations, personality types. You may have heard of: 

  • StrengthsFinder
  • DISC
  • Myers Briggs
  • Predictive Index
  • MCODE

There are many more. No matter how inane the questions seem, the assessments always peg you. My talents from StrengthsFinder are:

  • Activator
  • Achiever
  • Arranger
  • Relator
  • Responsibility

My motivations from MCODE are: 

  • To Overcome
  • Bring to Completion
  • Make an Impact

These are secular assessments, which is intentional on my part. I think most often we dismiss Church stuff, believing in the secular…after all, it’s what we experience in helping us in real life. I think it’s marrying the two, Faith and Reason, where we find our Greatness. Two authorities on this are St. Albert the Great and St. Thomas Aquinas. BTW, God created it all. 

Regardless of whether you’ve done assessments like the ones I just mentioned or not, I’d suggest taking this to prayer. Pray through what you believe your talents to be. Make a list, writing them down. Think through the things that you’re good at. God made each of us with specific and unique talents. The things that you really enjoy would be a good indication. Then listen for His voice…what’s God putting on your heart

Then do the same for your desires, the things that you like to do, desire to do, or achieve in your life…big things, little things, short and long-term. What mark do you want on this world? Again, listen for God’s voice…what’s He putting on your heart

Do the same thing for your needs. You may categorize them as the physical, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, and even financial. Again, make your list and pray through them. 

In addition to the above, I’d suggest discussing these things with others…advisors, mentors, those you can trust. Ask them to speak into them. 

Marrying these things…your talents, desires, and needs to your “why” will give you your God given purpose…the “what” and “how” to your life. Next week, we’ll learn how we hone those talents and find our greatness. 

As always, please email me at Mark@MarkJosephMinistries.com with comments, concerns, questions, and prayer requests. 

God Bless you on your Path to Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment!!!

Remember….God made you for Greatness!!!

 

Mark Joseph