the BLOG of stuart mcdonald


Twitter Church — April 10
April 12, 2010, 12:04 am
Filed under: Ministry, Stories, Think About It | Tags: , , , , ,

The other night, after having a great brunch with a friend, and doing some homework, I got a little overwhelmed with life, even to the point of becoming a tad depressed. Then I talked to my dad. Both of them. My dad called me on the phone and we had a wonderful conversation just about all that’s going on in both our lives. It was nice to know that we were struggling with some of the same things. We were open, honest, and vulnerable about our lives. And it felt great.

Then we prayed and talked to our Heavenly Father. It was just what we both needed. I don’t know about him, but I was crying so hard by the time we finished — I mean that ugly cry too — that I couldn’t even breathe out of my nose. But I felt so much better. Like a weight had been lifted off my shoulder. There was little doubt in my mind that my Twitter family needed to hear what I had just received. Below is what I shared. (If you’d like the high-res photo, click here)

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I’m Protesting the Christian’s Protests
October 14, 2009, 2:56 pm
Filed under: Stories, Think About It | Tags: , , , , ,

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Walking through the “yard” (I use the quotes because I don’t know how much of a yard it can be without any grass) at GSU today there was some kind of rally/protest going on. It was kind of exciting being that it was my first in college, but certainly it wont be my last. Amidst the people I could see huge signs saying all kinds of things about what God hates and judgment and the like. Then on the other side I noticed people waving the rainbow equality flag and holding up signs about homosexuality and being treated fairly. As soon as I realized they were “my people” (as in Christians) I was a little disgusted. And honestly a little embarrassed too.

I only had one thought: Is that was Jesus would do? Would Jesus hold a protest and tell people all the things that were wrong with them? Continue reading



My Respect For Her: Like a Tire With…
September 28, 2009, 1:17 pm
Filed under: Relationships, Stories | Tags: , , , , ,

Like a tire with a slow leak, my respect for her had dwindled.

Like a tire with a slow leak, my respect for her had dwindled.

Like A Tire With A Slow Leak

Do you still respect me?

The question seemed easy enough to answer. Yet I knew the answer, rather, the truth, would break her heart. And I knew I didn’t want to do that. So instead of telling her the truth, I did what any decent, self-respecting man with even a shred of common sense, intellect, and love for his own life would do: I lied. Okay, I didn’t really lie; I didn’t tell her something that wasn’t true. In fact, I didn’t tell her anything at all; I just redirected her question by asking another question.

“Have I done anything to show you that I don’t?” I inquired, hoping this “answer” would suffice. She pondered her response for a moment and said with something I, to this day, can’t remember; I just knew that I was off the hook. And that was all I needed to know. Continue reading



The King Outside His Kingdom
August 30, 2009, 8:15 pm
Filed under: Stories | Tags: , , , , , , ,

I’m normally not a narrative, fiction based writer. I actually find that it can be difficult sometimes. Since I started school, we had to write a paper for my English 1101 class based on the idea that we were having coffee with a rock star. Well, I’ve always wanted to sit down with this particular gentleman for a while, so I jumped at the “opportunity.” Enjoy the story.

—————————————

T.I. after a 2003 arrest
T.I. after a 2003 arrest

It felt like my mind was spinning just as fast as the engine in my rental car as I sped down Interstate 40 about 20 miles outside of Memphis, Tennessee, on my way to meet with a man that no one, outside of his family had spoken to in nearly eight months. I personally wanted to know how this time away had affected him, but did others? What should I say? Would anything be off limits? What can I learn from him? Would he give good answers? Would I ask good questions? Should I just focus on having a good conversation instead of giving him some automated survey type of interview? I had not a clue.

Veering off on exit 241, I headed south on US 1 through the small Arkansas town of Forrest City. My heart began to beat faster. A left. Then a right, and I saw the Forrest City Federal Correctional Complex appear on the horizon, off my driver’s side. The last left turn down Dale Bumpers Drive and the one mile that lead into the FCC felt like it lasted the majority of the 30 minute drive. Continue reading



The Lunch I’ll Never Forget
March 27, 2009, 10:04 pm
Filed under: My Life..., Stories

I know a lot of people are wondering about what exactly happened on Wednesday, so I will tell you the story, but I’m sorry to say it’s not nearly as excited as you might think.

I met my friend, Whitney, at her house to take her to the airport for a 4pm flight on Wednesday, March 25th. We had decided to grab a bite to eat before hand and since we both love soul food, decided that Busy Bee Cafe would be a perfect spot! So I loaded her luggage into the trunk and we headed downtown. On a normal day at lunch Busy Bee is a pretty hopping spot, so we were surprised to find parking the lot immediately adjacent to the building. So parked the car and headed inside to get some much needed nourishment.

It took about 20 minutes to get a table and of course it took us a few minutes to decide from all the wonderful menu options. We chowed down on the food until we had both hurt ourselves, the food was gone, and we were good and full!

As we’re walking towards the car, I see my red water bottle on the ground near the trunk of the car and I think, “That’s strange… Did I open the trunk when we went in and it accidentally fell out? No?” I was very confused, but nonetheless, I popped the trunk to place it back inside only to discover that all 4 bags gone! Both of Whitney’s bags (which is frustrating because you KNOW you take your best/cutest/fly-est (pick your term) stuff when you travel! Not to mention make-up, jewelry, hair care, etc and her new Bible to boot) along with my gym bag and computer bag… gone! Honestly, my initial reaction was to check the back seat, thinking, “Maybe I put them there instead of the trunk for some reason” Nope… They were gone. For good.

Of course, my inner Anglo kicked in and I immediately called the police. I enunciated well and calmly recalled the events that had just happened. They said the typical, “We’ll send someone right out.” Other things went on over the next hour… I updated my Facebook status and Twitter, sent texts to a few people; Whitney called her people; and we both just tried to process what REALLY just happened. I wandered around the parking lot waiting to see someone walking down a side street with one or more of our bags that I could chase down and tackle and get my stuff back from (no for real… I thought about this, AND I had on some chucks, so I was ready. And YES, I have seen too many police shows where this happens, I know.)

A gentlemen from Busy Bee and an employee did some ‘research’ and said that they’d seemed to have found the guys that stole our bags. They, of course, were loitering around looking suspicious, but then again, that’s half of the men down there (I’m not being anything but truthful… If you’ve been to Busy Bee, you know what I’m talking about) My instinct was to again, reenact some of my favorite shows from TV and use some “interrogation techniques”, get my stuff back, but logic overcame foolishness as I decided that was not a good look. Whitney agreed.

So, having no solid proof that these characters had done a thing beside look suspicious, we could do nothing once the police arrived OVER AN HOUR LATER. We found that the police were in the middle of a shift change when the incident had occurred and that’s what has caused the delay.. STILL not an excuse! The officer was nice enough, and we ran through all the procedures, I told him what happened to a ‘T’, and he in so many words said, “You’re stuff ain’t coming back.” He gave me his card with the case number and yada, yada, yada… tiny violins were playing in the background and I was just ready to get on with the day and get Whitney taken to the airport.

As we’re driving back to Whitney’s house to repack what clothes we can, I recalled something Pastor said in a message a few weeks back when he referenced Psalm 24:1, “The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it.” I realized that what they stole wasn’t even ours. If the Lord owns everything that we have anyway, and we’re just stewards (yes, what an appropriate lesson to learn WITH that word) then that was HIS MacBook, HIS clothes, HIS make-up (seems strange that God would have make-up), HIS jewelry, HIS bags. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want to steal from the Lord. I’m sure His “interrogation techniques” are much worse than anything Jack Bauer could come up with!

Whitney made a great point when she said, “If one person picked up that bible and might be called to Christ because of it. That alone would be worth 2000 MacBooks and 5 million wardrobes full of clothes.” And that’s absolutely right. If we had to go through all of that drama just for ONE SINGLE person to spend eternity in Heaven, I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat.

The next few hours are relatively boring as we pack another bag and run to Target for some make-up and toiletry items and drove to Hartsfield. Whitney had clearly missed her 4pm flight, but was able to get on stand-by and make an 8:50 flight. Before I go on, I must say something about Ms. Braggs: She is an incredible woman to handle herself as well as she did. Never once did I see her lose her cool beyond a few understandable tears, raise her voice, or blame anyone irrationally (or rationally for that matter). The level of respect that I have for her has absolutely been raised after Wednesday’s events. She’s also incredibly humble 😉

As I was driving to church, after dropping Whitney off from the airport, I heard the Lord say, “Pray for the people that stole from you.”

I said, “Huh?” as if I hadn’t heard Him clearly.

“You heard me”, He said. “Pray for the people who stole your stuff… Pray that I would bless them to such a degree that they would be overwhelmed and convicted because of the blessing, not because of their actions.” To hear him say that just hit me like a ton of bricks in the chest. I became so overwhelmed and thought, “You know, that’s exactly what Christ would and did do for those that persecuted and afflicted him.” I just felt such a weight that I began to weep as I prayed for them.

I arrived at church (with amazingly little traffic) and as I was parking I heard the Lord speak to me again. He said, “Give me all the money in you pocket.” Normally, I’ll be honest; I would argue a little but. But today, I had NO hesitation in saying, “You got it Lord! Anything else?” I was just at such a point where I didn’t have anything else. Had I had my checkbook, I literally would have emptied my account if He’d asked, just to show Him that He’s got whatever I need anyway!

I went into church in my own little zone, not really wanting to talk to anyone. Earlier in the day, I had remembered that we’d be singing one of my favorite songs, “God is in Control”. “How poignant” I thought to myself. You know how God LOVES to test you on the very things you say out of your mouth? He surely did that on Wednesday. I imagined Him saying, “Oh, I’m in control? Oh OK… Am I still in control now?”
Yes Lord you are STILL IN CONTROL! Maybe now more-so than ever before! My life and my ‘issues’ have not, and won’t ever negate His sovereignty.

Jeremiah 29:11 came to my mind later that night. I couldn’t get past “I know the plans…” He knows the plans, even the enemy’s plans for us; all the good and bad that we’re going to go through. Now HIS plans are to prosper us and not to harm us, but He knows it all and sees everything beforehand. He is so NOT surprised when things happen to us. When we woke up on Wednesday, he knew exactly what the day held and HE was prepared, even if we were clueless.

When I talked to my dad on Wednesday night, he said he was up at 4am praying or me without knowing why. Parents, if God says, “Pray for your kids (or anyone else for that matter)” DO IT! The Lord knew that my father would be faithful and that he could begin to cover me even before anything ever happened. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in another perilous situation, whether it was a car accident or something else and I talked to my dad and He said, “God had me praying for you today.”

As much as I’m sure it pains Him to watch us go through certain things in life, He knows exactly what he’s called us to do. He also knows the requirements on our character that we will need in order to fulfill that position. He also knows the things we have to go through in order to obtain that character in our lives.



The Life Raft
March 19, 2009, 9:50 am
Filed under: Stories

I know it’s been a minute since I blogged… and I feel like it. I got this story in an email yesterday and thought it was worth passing along. I’ll work on writing some of MY thoughts for the next go-round.

———————–

After a few of the usual Sunday evening hymns, the  church’s pastor slowly stood up, walked over to the pulpit and, before he gave  his sermon for the evening, he  briefly introduced a guest minister who  was in the service that evening.

In  the introduction, the pastor told the congregation that the guest minister was one of his dearest childhood friends and that  he wanted him to have a few moments to  greet the church and share whatever he felt would be appropriate for the  service. With  that, an elderly man stepped up to the pulpit  and began to speak.

A father, his son, and a friend of his son were sailing off the pacific coast, ‘he began. ‘When  a fast approaching storm blocked any attempt to get back to the  shore. ‘The waves were so high, that even though the father was an experienced sailor, he  could not keep the boat upright and the three were swept into the ocean as the  boat capsized.

the  old man hesitated for a moment, making eye contact with two teenagers who  were, for the first time since the service began, looking somewhat interested  in his story. The  aged minister continued with his story, ‘grabbing  a rescue line, the father had to make the most excruciating decision of his  life: to which boy would he throw the other end of the life line.

He  only had seconds to make the decision. The  father knew that his son was a Christian and he, also, knew that his son’s friend was not. The agony of his decision could not be matched by the torrent of  waves. As  the father yelled out, ‘I love you, son!’ he threw out the life line to his son’s friend.

By the time the father had pulled the friend back to the capsized boat, his son had disappeared beneath the raging swells into the black of night. His body was never recovered.’

By this time, the two teenagers were sitting up straight in the pew, anxiously waiting for the next words to come out of the old minister’s mouth.

‘The  father,’ he continued, ‘knew his son would step into eternity with Jesus and he could not bear the thought of his son’s friend stepping into an eternity without Jesus. Therefore, he sacrificed his son to save the son’s friend.

‘How  great is the love of god that he should do the same for us. Our heavenly father sacrificed his only begotten son that we could be saved. I urge you to  accept his offer to rescue you and take a hold of the life line he is throwing out to you in this service.’

With  that, the old man turned and sat back down in his chair as silence filled the  room. The  pastor again walked slowly to the pulpit and delivered a brief sermon with an  invitation at the end. However, no one responded to the  appeal. Within minutes after the service ended, the two teenagers were at the old man’s  side.

‘That  was a nice story,’ politely stated one of them,’but i don’t think it was very realistic for a father to give up his only son’s life in hopes that the other boy would become a Christian.’

‘Well, you’ve got a point there,’ the old man replied, glancing down at his worn  bible. A big smile broadened his narrow face. He once again looked up at the boys and said, ‘it sure isn’t very realistic, is it?  But, I’m standing here today  to tell you that story gives me a glimpse of what it must have been like for  god to give up his son for me. You see, ‘I was that father and your pastor is my son’s friend.’



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.