Becoming A Red Letter Christian

Struggling to Live Out the Words of Jesus

Archive for the ‘Diary’ Category

Seeing & Smelling Jesus

with one comment

“For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home.” -Matthew 25:35 (NLT)

“…when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!” -Matthew 25:40 (NLT)

It was unseasonably cool this morning.  A student from the youth group I serve and I stood outside our local Salvation Army ringing the buzzer.  We were there to help serve breakfast to the men, women and children that had spent the night in the shelter and others coming in off the street.

The people began to enter the dinning room, and all I could focus on were their faces, hardened by their experiences. Their eyes painted stories of a people who were dejected, humiliated, broken, hurt, afflicted, and disheartened.  The odor of humanity struggling to survive filled the room.  It was at that moment that I realized what I was experiencing.  It was Jesus.

He was there.  He was the face I kept seeing.  He was the eyes that painted the stories of a broken people.  Yes we were serving the hungry, the thirsty and the stranger, but in doing so we were serving Jesus.  In my feeble imagination, that is what Jesus looks and smells like.


Written by joeldiaz

March 29, 2011 at 9:15 pm

Mother’s of Bullied Students on Oprah

with one comment

The mothers of Carl Walker-Hoover and Jaheem Herrera will be on the Oprah Winfrey Show on Wednesday, May 6th.

Check it our here.

If you do not know who these young men are, refer to my previous two posts.

Written by joeldiaz

May 4, 2009 at 10:34 pm

Heavy Hearted

with one comment

My last post was about a boy named Karl Walker Hoover. A 6th grade boy that was bullied so much that he decided to commit suicide. Last night I was watching the news, and they were reporting on a boy named Jaheem Herrera from the Atlanta area.


My heart is heavy. Jaheem took his life this week because of the relentless bullying he endured. You can read the AJC story HERE. When will we (parents, educators, doctors, family, ect.) begin to pay acknowledge that this is a problem. Bullying is not some right of passage. It doesn’t happen to everyone. It’s not just meaningless words that kids brush off. It cuts to the core.

As a youth worker, these cases trouble me greatly. God give me wisdom when I encounter these situations.

Written by joeldiaz

April 24, 2009 at 9:26 pm

Bullying: “When Words Can Kill”

leave a comment »

I am getting sick of hearing students in our youth ministry verbally attack one another, and talk about other people outside of our community in a negative manner. I have come so close to reacting in a very negative way. It is only by God’s grace that I have not made a complete buffoon of myself in front of the students.

I don’t think they realize the power of their words. I was reminded once again while watching CNN’s AC360 this evening that…



My heart is broken tonight.

Read the full article here.

Written by joeldiaz

April 17, 2009 at 9:05 pm

Posted in Diary


with 2 comments

So, you can tell by my last post that I had good intentions. Then life happens.

The last few weeks have been absolutely Crazy (notice the capital “C”). Here is what has happened:

-We had a confirmation retreat and celebrated confirmation Sunday with 12 sixth graders

-Lisa saw the doctor and is scheduled for surgery Thursday

-Noah is leaving for a 10-day trip to Spain with my parents tomorrow

-I have been pulled in a 100 different directions

-I stopped reading “Crazy Love” by Francis Chan

-Read “Ragamuffin Gospel” by Brennan Manning in preparation for a series of lectures he is going to be giving in Moultrie, GA (a town near Albany)

-Found out that Brennan Manning canceled all speaking engagements through May due to illness (remember him in your prayers)

-My computer crashed, and I spent 7 hours working to get it fixed (Apple has incredible customer service)

-I have now lost a total of 37 pounds since the beginning of the year (only 33 more to meet my goal)

-Traveled to the west coast with Mike Johnson and visited southern Cali, and SLC, Utah (yes, we skied)

I know there is more, but I am to tired to remember it all. Really looking forward to our trip to ATL next week to hang out with friends and family.

Written by joeldiaz

March 31, 2009 at 6:05 pm

crazy love

leave a comment »

i was captivated and challenged by francis chan this year at the national youth workers’ convention in nashville. he made it o.k. to acknowledge that there are many of us who think that there is something seriously wrong with the american church. i have walked around with that thought in my heart for a few years now. it was refreshing to hear someone ask about that in an open forum, and see so many in agreement.

crazy love

in response to that sermon and at the suggestion of others, i began reading crazy love by francis chan yesterday. i want to publicly journal as i walk through this book. i do not consider myself an academic, so please do not expect me to expound deep wisdom. nor is my purpose to review this book, i’ll leave that to the professionals.

my goal is to respond to the text as i sense God stirring within me. that is my prayer in this process, that God will stir up the passion for Him that i know is trapped in my soul. there is something that keeps me from shouting out His name, and i want the freedom and the boldness to do just that.

Written by joeldiaz

February 20, 2009 at 2:01 pm


with one comment

last night was one of those special moments in ministry for me. even though weeks of planning, hours of set-up, and support from staff members had occurred in preparation, something bigger was happening. it was evident that God was working in and through the lives of those who came to share their victories and struggles.


i remember as a kid being in church, and people getting up and sharing a testimony. people would share about how God was working in their lives, or in certain situations they faced. these testimonies taught me several things about the Christian life and community that i have come to cherish.


in the Christian life there will be great days of rejoicing as you walk in God’s path, but you will also face many struggles. you will be tested in your faith. you will have times when you wonder if God has abandoned you. sometimes your prayers will be answered in the way you hoped, but in other times the will of God just will not make sense to you.


when trust and love abound in the community, we celebrate God’s good works in the lives of others, but we also come and share our burdens. we share how we have grown in our faith, but we also ask our brothers and sisters for help in a time of struggle. in such a setting, we feel safe to open ourselves up to others and let down our guard. we become genuine.


that is what happened last night. through a conversation i had with a senior high student, this idea was born. she and i had a discussion about relationships, dating, sexuality and spirituality. when we were done, she told me that she wished that i could have this same discussion with the entire senior high group. as we continued our discussion we came up with the idea of hosting dinner. during the dinner, couples would come and share how decisions they had made affected their relationships. they would give a testimony.


so last night we hosted a dinner, decorated a room, invited our friends and listened to three couples as they shared their stories. they were honest and open, and there was a sense of complete trust between the couples and audience of students. their stories were all very different but a common theme arose, our sexuality is tightly interwoven with our spirituality. it is virtually impossible to separate the two. that’s the way God designed it. it was beautiful to sit there and witness this evening unfold.


thank you to my fellow co-workers who were not only supportive, but also excited about this unique event. thank to all the parents and adult leaders who came to serve the students, and to the kitchen staff who prepared a great meal. finally, thank you to the couples who came and shared your triumphs and struggles. with the help of God’s Holy Spirit you spoke to the hearts of all in attendance.


“as iron sharpens iron,


so one person sharpens another.”

Proverbs 27:17

Written by joeldiaz

February 12, 2009 at 6:47 pm