Oh Those Inspirational Church Sign Slogans…

While I’m not a church goer, I have to admit that I do love passing by those that take the time to put a truly inspiration slogan on their welcome sign for all those driving by to see. Sometimes I see ones that bring a great smile on my face or even a joyful laugh. Other times I have quite honestly just rolled my eyes. Irregardless, I decided to pool some of them together that I felt were noteworthy and have touched my own life. Here they are in no particular order:

1. A fellow who says it can’t be done is likely to be interrupted by someone doing it.

2. A half truth is a whole lie.

3. A person is never so empty as when he is full of self.

4. Could God nominate you for Best Actor or Actress?

5. aonvatlis – Let God unscramble your life.

6. Don’t let the littleness in others bring out the littleness in you.

7. Don’t tell God how big your storm is, tell your storm how big your God is.

8. Forbidden fruit creates many jams.

9. God can turn your world of broken pieces into many other peaces.

10. God has way more savings than Walmart.

11. God wants spiritual fruit not religious nuts.

12. Honk if you love God, text it if you want to meet God now.

13. If God brought you to it, God will bring you through it.

14. If your mouth is out of order, so is your life.

15. Ipad? Iphone? Ipod? Try Ipray.

16. Pointing out faults? Look in the mirror and not through a telescope.

17. Moses was once a basket case too.

18. Most things wrong in your life started by forgetting what things were right.

19. People are lonely because they build walls instead of bridges.

20. Screaming “Oh God! Oh God!” in bed really isn’t quite the same thing as praying.

21. Thank God for those dirty dishes, at least you have food to eat.

22. Try God, not Google for the real answers you’re seeking.

23. What you thought was coincidence may have been a God incident.

24. When you feel down to nothing, God is really just up to something.

25. You have one new friend request. God Accept/Deny.

While those are just some of the many church slogans that I have seen on their signs and been inspired by, there are many others I’ve also seen along the way that have upset me too. Sometimes they are slanted with hate and propaganda. And generally it’s those types of signs that make me cringe or roll my eyes. One example of a negative church sign I found was “Obama Osama, Humm, Are they brothers?” Another was: “Jews killed Jesus”. And even worse, look at this one: “Santa Klaus never died for anyone”. With free speech, I guess things like this are expected but I know that God is all about unconditional love and definitely not about creating bias like this.

Regardless, I’m just grateful for the many church signs though that are truly about unconditional love and inspiration. It’s my hope that all churches will put slogans on their welcome signs that are not slanted towards one particular point of view but are all encompassing and all loving. I would like to end this article with my own slogan that I’d like to see on a church sign someday. I hope you enjoy it…

“Is your life a puzzle? Let God put the pieces together…”

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

Looking For A Burning Bush Experience…

One of the things my mother took to her grave was her desire to have a burning bush experience with God that she felt never came. For those who may be reading this that do not know what a burning bush experience is, according to the Bible, when Moses went up on Mount Sinai to wait upon God for direction for his people who were growing impatient, he encountered a burning bush that God spoke through and gave him direction. People like my mother have often equated this story to when they’re looking for their own sign and direction from God. What I’ve learned on my journey is that sometimes the signs from God are a lot more subtle.

In Moses situation, the sign of God’s presence was abundantly clear. But for my mother, it was never clear enough. In the last few years of her life, she held steadfast to her belief that God needed to give her a burnish bush experience before she would change anything in her life. In the meantime while she waited, she drank excessive amounts of alcohol that essentially led to her death. Looking back at her life, there were many signs that I felt God presented to my mother. The greatest of which came a year before she died when she fell down the stairs drunk and broke parts of her face and had to be on a breathing apparatus for awhile. Sadly, after she went through a small sober period after that, she returned to her same stance of looking for that big sign and eventually went back to alcohol for the answer. A year later, she fell down the stairs again and broke her neck, dying instantly.

Why is it that we look so much for these huge signs like a burning bush? I’m guilty of it as well. In the past three years of my life I have gone through so much pain and anguish on a spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical level. On many days, I’ve asked God for a sign to know I’m on the right path. Like my mother, my brain has quite often wanted the same thing my mother sought. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t secretly desire to have my own burnish bush experience. But somehow I’m beginning to think that God communicates on a different level these days.

Before all the physical pain became constant in my life, I believe there were many signs that God was sending me to wake up and take a different path. My closest friends and family at the time were often warning me of what they were seeing transpire and how sick they felt I was becoming. I didn’t listen. One of the toxic people I was hanging out with back then crashed my car and also pointed a gun at me and I still didn’t listen. Parts of my body occasionally had great physical pain that suddenly came on but I still kept on living in those toxic behaviors. At one point, all of my body began hurting and this finally grabbed my attention. It did get me to change directions and alter the course of my life for the better. It has made me wonder though if the pain was the only sign that God could resort to so as to get me back on track.

Today, I’m still dealing with a lot of pain but my stance on it is a little different. I look at it as my body’s process of healing. But I will admit that there are many days I still do wish for some great sign from God, such as hearing a booming voice, to show me that good days are on the horizon. Regardless, I think God’s presence is in our lives all the time except we don’t look hard enough for it. Most times, I’m guessing we all take matters into our own hands and try to do what we think is best for ourselves when those signs don’t come in the way we think they should come such as it was in my mother’s case. Today, I wait patiently upon God for a lot of the healing that really is out of my hands, but in doing that, I also remain open for any small signs of God’s presence. Things such as animals coming up close to me and staring at me for awhile, insects including dragonflies and butterflies landing on me, double rainbows suddenly appearing in the sky in front of me, or beautiful bird feathers showing up somewhere around me on most days are taken as examples of God’s signs now.

There is a theory that I have now with how God shows signs in our lives. When any of us aren’t listening and are off doing whatever it is we feel like doing, maybe the signs are a lot more direct and can only come through things that will grab our attention such as major health issues, financial hardships, or huge fallouts with friends and loved ones. And quite possibly, could it be true that when we get on track and are on the path that God wants us to be on, the signs get a lot more understated and it’s all about just remaining alert and being open to them?

My favorite visual representation of the craziness in how people can get when looking for a sign from God can be seen with Jim Carey in the movie Bruce Almighty. During it, he asks for a sign from God and then sees a “Caution Ahead” sign in front of him that he ignores. He then asks God a little more directly and a truck suddenly appears ahead of him filled with “Stop”, “Caution”, and “Wrong Way” signs. Yet he continues ahead and ignores them. He grabs his cross hanging on his rear view mirror and says a prayer while he runs over a bump in the road which forces him to drop the cross to the floor of the car. At which point, he grabs it, looks up, and then runs into a pole, stopping his forward progress altogether.

Maybe signs from God are a lot more like this and a lot less like the burning bush experience that Moses had? Maybe too many of us didn’t listen to the signs that God once gave us in a very direct way? While I really don’t know the answers to either of those questions, I do know that a sign from God can probably come in infinite ways. And maybe the most important thing is for each of us to just pray to remain open to them in an way they may come.

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

God Forgives, Do You?

According to some recent statistics, approximately 80% of all the people in the United States identify themselves as a Christian and 84% of the world’s population maintain some level of religious faith and following. What this means is that approximately 8 in every 10 people in both this country and throughout the entire world hold some level of belief in a Higher Power. Given those staggering numbers, I am very troubled by the amount of people who continue to have a hard time forgiving someone who has apparently wronged them in some way, shape, or form when one of the greatest principles of building faith is also in carrying love and forgiveness for everyone.

Why do people continue to hold onto their grudges like they are a best friend? Do people realize that every major religion in this world practices forgiveness in their doctrines? While I’m not a religious person, I do consider myself a spiritual one and follow many of the same teachings and beliefs that Jesus, Ghandi, Buddha, and Muhammad held. In Christianity especially, Jesus always practiced forgiveness to everyone and yet isn’t it ironic that when 8 out of every 10 people in the United States identify themselves as Christians, we still have many hate crimes, violence, and bloodshed that all revolve around the lack of forgiveness.

For the longest time I identified myself as a Christian but was so far from living that way. I carried many grudges like badges of honor and felt hate towards so many. All that did was make me a very negative and angry person who held a tainted view on life. And the more that people “crossed my path”, the more grudges I carried. And the more grudges I carried, the more I disliked everything in life, including myself.

I’ve learned that carrying a grudge is like wanting to have cancer in my body. I’m sure if I went up to anyone who was carrying a grudge and said that they were carrying cancer by holding onto their resentments, most would likely do whatever they could to let them all go. But most don’t realize the poison that is building within their body by carrying any type of grudge.

I believe that God is the opposite of a grudge and is instead, all about forgiveness. There are so many examples in all of the major religions of that, even in the ones that don’t specifically believe in one deity. I have chosen today to not follow any of those religious because I don’t want to put myself in a box. But what I do follow is a higher set of guidelines, ones which allow love for everyone and ones that work on forgiving all those who have ever harmed me, even the most painful ones.

The three most painful ones I have ever had to practice forgiveness towards was with an adult man who molested me, my father who committed suicide, and my mother who spent the last few years of her life drunk. In each of those cases, I held onto to a lot of anger and rage and couldn’t forgive any of them for years. My health suffered as a result on every possible level. When I finally came to a place of healing and forgiveness with all of them, it was as if I became a lighter person.

While I don’t have proof that toxicity builds in the body when one holds onto a grudge and refuses to forgive, I do know that nothing good ever came out of it when I did. The closer I’ve become to God in my life, the more I’ve realized that I need to do what I can to be an example for others in practicing love, forgiveness, and peace for everyone. I am one of those 8 in 10 people in this world who maintains some level of faith in a Higher Being. My Higher Being is God who I know always forgives, so why shouldn’t I too?

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson