the BLOG of stuart mcdonald

Kurtis and Brenda – Supermarket Love
January 30, 2009, 12:25 pm
Filed under: Stories

I had to share this story that my mom passed on to me. It’s especially close to my/our hearts because my younger sister has Cerebral Palsy and is in a wheelchair.

In a supermarket, Kurtis the stock boy, was busily working when a new voice came over the loud speaker asking for a carry out at register 4. Kurtis was almost finished, and wanted to get some fresh air, and decided to answer the call. As he approached the check-out stand a distant smile caught his eye, the new check-out girl was beautiful.  She was an older woman (maybe 26, and he was only 22) and he fell in love.

Later that day, after his shift was over, he waited by the punch clock to find out her name. She came into the break room, smiled softly at him, took her card and punched out, then left.  He looked at her card, BRENDA.  He walked out only to see her start walking up the road.  Next day, he waited outside as she left the supermarket, and offered her a ride home. He looked harmless enough, and she accepted.  When he dropped her off, he asked if maybe he could see her again, outside of work.  She simply said it wasn’t possible.

He pressed and she explained she had two children and she couldn’t afford a baby-sitter, so he offered to pay for the baby-sitter. Reluctantly she accepted his offer for a date for t! he follo wing Saturday.  That Saturday night he arrived at her door only to have her tell him that she was unable to go with him. The baby-sitter had called and canceled. To which Kurtis simply said, “Well, let’s take the kids with us.”

She tried to explain that taking the children was not an option, but again not taking no for an answer, he pressed.  Finally Brenda, brought him inside to meet her children.  She had an older daughter who was just as cute as a bug, Kurtis thought, then Brenda brought out her son, in a wheelchair.  He was born a paraplegic with Down Syndrome.

Kurtis asked Brenda, “I still don’t understand why the kids can’t come with us?”  Brenda was amazed. Most men would run away from a woman with two kids, especially if one had disabilities – just like her first husband and father of her children had done.  Kurtis was not ordinary – he had a different mindset.

That evening Kurtis and Brenda loaded up the kids, went to dinner and the movies. When her son needed anything Kurtis would take care of him.  When he needed to use the restroom, he picked him up out of his wheelchair, took him and brought him back.  The kids loved Kurtis.  At the end of the evening, Brenda knew this was the man she was going to marry and spend the rest of her life with. A year later, they were married and Kurtis adopted both of her children. Since then they have added two more kids.

So what happened to Kurtis the stock boy and Brenda the check-out girl?

Well, Mr. & Mrs. Kurt Warner now live in Arizona , where he is currently employed as the quarterback of the National Football League Arizona Cardinals and has his Cardinals in the hunt for a possible appearance in the Super Bowl.  Is this a surprise ending or could you have guessed that he was not an ordinary person. It should be noted that he also quarterbacked the Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI. He has also been the NLF’s Most Valuable Player twice and the Super Bowl’s Most Valuable Player.


The Me I Saw
January 26, 2009, 4:29 pm
Filed under: My Life...

It know it’s been super long… ok, maybe only 4 days, but it seems like SO much longer to me, since I’ve posted last. I wrote this about a month ago and normally I’d go back and tweak things and make them sound pretty, but I’m just gonna give you what I wrote then…

I was so proud of myself and my ministry that I’d never admit that I had a problem. I was not in denial. I knew I had a problem, but I loved my ministries so much that I didn’t want to put them in jeopardy by telling someone what I was struggling with. I didn’t even think I could handle it myself. I expected God to just flip the switch and change my urges to be something I could control.

I would read books and listen to messages and have those ‘mountaintop’ experiences, but I would go home and nothing inside me would change. I’d have the same unhealthy thoughts as before, do the same foolish things. I knew what I was doing wrong, but that didn’t make much of a difference. I couldn’t shake it off me. I feel like a had a genuine desire to not be the person that I was, but I just couldn’t change me as much as I tried. It seemed like sometimes, God hadn’t changed a thing inside of me since the day he saved me.

I saw those around me looking up to me and thinking I’m a great example. I thought, “If you only knew what was really going on inside me, the ‘real’ me. If you knew what that looked like, you wouldn’t have such a high opinion of me.”

Out of this came a lot of self doubt and low self esteem (even though I don’t like to call it that). I felt worthless because I knew the ‘real’ me. I knew the me I was behind closed doors and it scared me. The only problem was that the me I saw wasn’t the me the Christ saw. He saw every bit of me; He saw my hurts, habits, hang-ups, flaws, and thoughts. He saw it all. And the fact that He loved me in spite of all my mess was absolutely incredible to me. I never though that anyone could do that.

I knew if people only knew pieces of me, they’d get a ‘good’ picture of the me, one I wanted them to see. I didn’t always ‘front’ like that, but I got very good a making sure I seeming like an honest, and genuine person, but really, I only let people in so far. Far enough to where they felt like they knew me , but not far enough to show them my foolishness.

I got real good at projecting a certain image and loved the image that I projected. The problem came when I got by myself. I saw the me I had been projecting to everyone all day long and was disappointed with what looked back from the mirror. That lyric in Kirk Franklin’s song “Imagine Me” where he says, “Imagine me loving what I see when the mirror looks at me” spoke volumes to me!

I liked what I saw physically when I looked in the mirror, but if I looked at myself eye to eye, there was something that made me uneasy. I knew I wasn’t fronting for myself and my eyes did, and still do, say it all. There was such a look of disappointment with myself but I didn’t know how to change or do anything different.

Inauguration Thoughts
January 22, 2009, 12:31 am
Filed under: My Life...

Nothing super deep for now… Just a few thoughts I jotted down while riding the Metro to meet my dad after the Inauguration drama.

  • Today, a day that should have been incredible, was instead filled with disappointments for me. Why? Because nothing I expected to happen, did. It’s not really any one particular person’s fault.
  • I did learn that I took for granted the way my dad and I travel.
  • It’s always best to travel light. Whether it be with luggage or number of people, life is always easier with less baggage. It allows you to be more mobile and easily adapt to your surroundings.
  • Always have a plan B! Always know your surroundings.

Pastor Rick’s Inauguration Prayer
January 20, 2009, 10:08 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I’m really still processing through all the events of today’s Inauguration of our 44th President, Barack Obama, but for now, I wanted to share Pastor Rick Warren’s prayer with you.

I LOVE what he said and I found it incredible that he managed to preach without preaching and really covered a lot of aspects of the salvation message. Here’s the transcript.

Let us pray.

Almighty God, our father, everything we see and everything we can’t see exists because of you alone. It all comes from you, it all belongs to you. It all exists for your glory. History is your story. The Scripture tells us, “Hear, oh Israel, the Lord is our God; the Lord is one.” And you are the compassionate and merciful one. And you are loving to everyone you have made.

Now today, we rejoice not only in America’s peaceful transfer of power for the 44th time. We celebrate a hinge-point of history with the inauguration of our first African American president of the United States.

We are so grateful to live in this land, a land of unequaled possibility, where the son of an African immigrant can rise to the highest level of our leadership.

And we know today that Dr. King and a great cloud of witnesses are shouting in heaven.

Give to our new president, Barack Obama, the wisdom to lead us with humility, the courage to lead us with integrity, the compassion to lead us with generosity. Bless and protect him, his family, Vice President Biden, the Cabinet and every one of our freely elected leaders.

Help us, oh God, to remember that we are Americans, united not by race or religion or blood, but to our commitment to freedom and justice for all.

When we focus on ourselves, when we fight each other, when we forget you, forgive us. When we presume that our greatness and our prosperity is ours alone, forgive us. When we fail to treat our fellow human beings and all the Earth with the respect that they deserve, forgive us.

And as we face these difficult days ahead, may we have a new birth of clarity in our aims, responsibility in our actions, humility in our approaches and civility in our attitudes, even when we differ.

Help us to share, to serve and to seek the common good of all.

May all people of goodwill today join together to work for a more just, a more healthy and a more prosperous nation and a peaceful planet. And may we never forget that one day all nations and all people will stand accountable before you.

We now commit our new president and his wife, Michelle, and his daughters, Malia and Sasha, into your loving care.

I humbly ask this in the name of the one who changed my life, Yeshua, Isa, Jesus [Spanish pronunciation], Jesus, who taught us to pray, “Our father who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.”


Not Just for Me
January 16, 2009, 8:48 pm
Filed under: My Life...

I have realized that I cannot grow closer to Christ for myself. No, there are people who need to see the God in me. People need to see that it is possible to live a Godly live according to His Word; they need to watch someone do it first before they step out and do it for themselves. There are those who look at me as an example and a leader for whatever reason and I must reflect who Christ is accurately. I cannot do that if I don’t have an intimate relationship with Him.

My relationship with Him is not for me. It is for others. It is for others to see what genuine intimacy with Christ looks likes. It’s to help them understand that you don’t have to be a recluse and forfeit a “normal” life just because you have a great relationship with God. Now there may be some things that I can’t get away with because of that relationship, but the same would be true if I were in any other intimate relationship.

With there being so many Pastors and Ministries ‘falling from grace’ I must live above reproach in all I do, representing Him with honor and integrity. People must be shown that there are people out there doing things the right way. I’m not by any means saying that I’m the only person doing so. I know that there are TONS of people doing things with character and integrity, but for some reason there’s not attention on them. Apparently it’s not interesting enough to show people that live their lives in a manor that is in alignment with the Word of God and the standards that are represented therein.

I want my life to be an open book. I want people to learn for my mistakes as much as my successes. I don’t want to brag about myself or my accomplishments. I know that anything I do is only because of Him.

Undue Allegiance?
January 15, 2009, 1:17 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Before I begin, I must make the following disclaimer: I am not any kind of expert in the area of race relations. I’m simply pondering on the things that I notice personally. You are absolutely entitled to your own opinions. Also note that I will use the terms “black” and “white” in order to completely stereotype people and I understand that skin tone does not always dictate culture or attitude towards a particular situation. I also understand that there are exceptions to every statement I’ll make.

I have noticed that black women have an allegiance to black men. I don’t think that black men carry the same allegiance and I wonder why. Why have black men long dated outside their race, but it’s only been as of late that you’ve seen black women dating other races? Where does this seemingly unspoken allegiance come from? I can understand that you want to perpetuate your own heritage and your allegiance can come from there, but I wonder if there isn’t a balance.

I don’t think that we should settle for a particular person (when it comes to marriage) just because they have a certain skin tone (or cultural background for that matter). Do we feel like if a person is outside our race, that they ‘had better be worth it’? In other words, if we date outside our race, they have to be a step above what they would be if they were the same ‘color’ as us? Do we find ourselves  settling for people that may not be the best for us just because they’re our same race, when maybe we could find better elsewhere?

I’m not saying, “Hey everyone, go out and marry someone of a different race and have interracial kids!” No, what I am saying is, why should we look exclusively in one place (or race) when we may miss God’s blessing (and a better person) if we look at their inward person first?

I don’t believe that it’s ‘easy’ to be a part of an interracial relationship. I think you have to be that much more sure that you truly love the person you’re with, for better or for worse (because the worse, will be much worse). There will always additional forces pulling at both people, discouraging you, and wanting the relationship to fail. You have to know that those trials are going to come and you have to be ready to face them together, with a united front, on one accord.

A Little Cleaning… A Long Way to Go
January 15, 2009, 1:11 am
Filed under: My Life...

One of my goals for 2009, really for the first half of 2009, is to move closer to GSU, where I’ll be attending school in the fall. As such, I decided to start cleaning out a lot of junk out of my car, room, and closet. I figure it’ll make things a whole lot easier when I move if I can just throw stuff in boxes instead of having to simultaneously clean. Today was the first real day of cleaning (and I shouldn’t say day because it was really only a few hours) and I feel like I’ve made, not even a dent, more like a ding. I’ve got a long way to go. During the course of cleaning I realized that there’s a lot of truth to the fact that the way that you keep your home is the way you keep your spiritual life.

My space had so much stuff piled up from the last 10 – 12 years of life. While I’ve taken the time to get a few things in order, I’d never really done a thorough cleaning. I just kept letting the junk pile up because I could still function with it there, I found a way to make due around it. There was dust so thick in some places because I just hadn’t touched those areas in a while, perhaps maybe 8 or 9 years. I found magazines and receipts from 2003 and earlier. I found pictures from 7, 8 years ago.

How could I have gone so long without finding these things? Convenience. It wasn’t convenient for me to take the time and clean everything out. It was much easier just to let the piles get higher and higher and slide things here and there. Maybe even occasional smaller cleanings to clear some space for some junk. But never an overhaul like this.

I thought, “How often do we do the same things I did in the physical, in the spiritual?” How often do we just push things aside to make room for more mess? Do we let issues go unresolved, just because it’s easier to pretend like they’re not really there? Are the ways and methods that we used to get us to where we are now going to take us to the next level?

Now that I’m moving into a new season, both spiritually, and geographically, it’s time to make a clean sweep and get rid of the things I no longer need. In order to move into the next season I have to examine my space and throw out the excess that may have been useful in the past, but no longer serves a purpose.

Needless to say, I’m not anywhere close to finished, but over the next few months, if I can chip at it here and there, before you know it, I’ll be finished. And then I’ll be ready for what’s next… Really ready.