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Blog | Christopher Coleman

Physical Breakdown vs. A Spiritual Escape

About 6 months ago, I asked God to help me live an unconfined life before the world. Half way into this journey I had a breakdown. I got worn down by the complications associated with being inside of my physical body. I have a long way to go to get back to the way I used to be, but after a couple days of being alone, praying, reading my bible and going through the remorseful stage of not being able to control my emotions and feelings. God has taught me something very important.

God is telling me that I should not feel bad by the fact that my spirit no longer wants to be confined by my flesh. I am rediscovering the truth that I am a spiritual being clothed in earthly flesh. It is natural for anyone that is maturing in Christ to get to a point where he is tired of being controlled and define by the flesh.

Now, I admit I like so many other people did not handle this process well, but I have been reminded of a question that God asked Adam in the Garden,“Who told you, you were naked?”

The question came to me in a different form; the question was “Who told you, you were disabled?”

Men have fell into the trap of the defining themselves by their flesh rather than their spirits. Ever since then, we have been trying to hide, cover up or make up for what we perceive to be nakedness, weakness or character flaws based on our flesh. And what God is telling me at this time in my life is to stop being controlled by your flesh. I have made you a spiritual human being in my image. “Who told you, you were disabled?”

Maybe you’re not going through a mental breakdown. Maybe you are attempting spiritual escape. Maybe you have finally arrived to the place that I am beginning to get to and that is, what is physical is not who God made you to be.  You like I, am ready to break free from the physical.

I share this for everyone that may find themselves getting worn down and tired of being controlled and defined by whatever situation they find themselves in. You feel in the blank.Who told you, you were…..

 

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Helping Christopher This Holiday Season

Dear Friends and Family,

 

I hope you are enjoying the blessings of God in the midst of a wonderful holiday season, as am I. Even though I lost my home and personal possessions in a fire, God has continued to bless my life tremendously.

 

People are asking, “Why has this happened to you? Have you not been through enough already?” I believe the answer is very simple. Satan, like the rest of the world, has underestimated me. He thought my disability and the challenges associated with it would prevent me from giving praise and glory to God. I can hear him talking to his demons saying, “I’ve been over here trying to trip up the perfectly-able Christians, meanwhile Christopher, with a wheelchair and cerebral palsy, has been traveling all over the world telling folks about Jesus and the difference that He makes regardless of a wheelchair. Its time for me to up my game!”

 

As part of my “40 by 40″ challenges, I have been meditating and praying on 1 Peter 4:12-14.

 

Many have asked, “What can we do to help?” Praise God that my immediate needs have been taken care of. A wonderful family of four, two of whom are adopted, in a household to include a foreign exchange student over the winter break, has made accommodations for me stay with them in their home as I search for a new place to live. That loving family, my personal assistant, and many others have made huge sacrifices so my immediate needs are met. Pray with me that God would bless them three times as much as they have blessed me!

 

Over time, the insurance company will restore everything I lost in the fire. The only caveat to this is that I have to provide them with receipts and they will reimburse my purchases. For them it is good, sound bookkeeping and accountability to require me to rebuild based on my livelihood. Praise God that He has given me a ministry and work that has enabled me to live comfortably. Unfortunately, due to the economy of the last four years, we have fallen behind with our payroll and many other ministry obligations. Individual supporters have drastically cut back due to their financial struggles and organizations have also cut back on hiring outside speakers. With this in mind, here is how you can help:

  1. 1. Prayer: I understand that not everyone can afford to give financially. But everyone can, indeed, pray. Not just for me, but pray for the individuals who can give financially, that God would bless them.
  2. 2. We need financial support: As I said earlier, things have gotten very tight. We need to catch up as well as secure the ministry efforts of 2013. Anyone that makes a contribution by Dec. 31st will receive a letter recognizing your total contribution for 2012. We also ask that you prayerfully consider becoming a monthly supporter of Empowered Ministries.
  3. 3. Word of mouth: I want to encourage everyone to direct their friends and family to my site, www.christophercoleman.net, and ask them to give to the ministry if the ministry and message blesses them in any way. Also, if you go on my site under “How to Support Us”, you will find a list of churches throughout the country that I am targeting. If you have any contact with these churches or other Christian organizations, please help me make a connection with them.
  4. 4. Home Gatherings: I am also available to come into your home and share my personal story at a picnic, barbeque, or in your living room over desert and coffee. At the end of the night, you simply make a request to your friends and loved ones to support Empowered Ministries through a one-time or monthly donation.

 

For those who would like to help from a financial standpoint, you can make contributions to Empowered Ministries online at http://christophercoleman.net/how-to-support-us/make-a-donation/or via mail at:

Empowered Ministries

PO Box 1632

Kennesaw, GA 30156

I want to thank you in advance for your prayer and support. Have a wonderful holiday season. Know that my prayers are with you as well.

 

 

Seeking His wonderful, miracle working power, John 9: 1-3

Christopher D. Coleman

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Getting Over the Election & Moving on with Our Christian Responsibility

I am sharing with you this article today based on a couple of assumptions. First, I am assuming that all of my readers and followers have a accepted or gotten over the fact that God, in His sovereignty, has chosen to allow President Barack Obama another 4 years in office. My assumption is, because we have gotten over the election, we are not continuing to let our political views override our spiritual responsibilities as Christians. Based on those assumptions, I hope that this article encourages you. I know that some would say that this is just political move, however the vernacular used in this article is the same vernacular I have heard from speakers and professing Christians throughout my whole Christian journey.

Praying With President Obama

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God is still showing up in fires


Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, “Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?” They replied, “Certainly, Your Majesty.” He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.” Daniel 3: 24-25

 

 

I know God was in the house fire with me. I have three pieces of evidence:

  1. Even though I fell out of my wheelchair while trying to put out the fire, I was able to get up and crawl out without any harm. The fire investigator even said that he is amazed that I even made it out alive.
  2. I was able to think clearly enough to pick up my keys and hit the car alarm to bring attention to my need for help. Believe me, I don’t think on my feet that well! Only the Lord can give me that type of clarity in the midst of panic.
  3. The fire occurred in the middle of the day while most of my neighbors are away at work. However, everyone that I needed “just happened” to be home and came running to my rescue.

 

Well, it’s been about 2-1/2 weeks now. Currently, I am in between bunking with friends and staying in a hotel suite until insurance appraises the value of my home and the things that I have lost.

 

Last week, I started to think about this process of appraising. I realized that the value of something could be exceptionally high or exceptionally low depending on the appraisal standards. For instance, I believe the loss of my home and my possessions in the fire could be equal to the loss of a self-made millionaire going through his own personal fire. It takes the same amount of effort for a person with a severe disability in America to become established as it would take for a non-disabled individual to become a self-made millionaire. Thirty percent of physically disabled Americans live in poverty. I believe this number would be even higher if family members and loved ones did not take a financial role in supporting them. Yet, I have managed to live a middle-class lifestyle.

 

The only difference between that self-made millionaire and myself is the reality that I am not self-made. The self-made millionaire has the task of rebuilding using physical effort and education. I simply have to continue in my faith and dedication to the calling that God has on my life. Because of Christ, I don’t have to put any effort into restoring my life; I must simply continue the testimony of my wonderful, powerful Redeemer.

 

Please help me continue to use my ministry and story to demonstrate the power of Christ. Here is how you can help:

1. Pray that I take advantage of every opportunity to tell people about Christ and who He is, from the insurance agency to the fire investigators to the hotel employees. God has given me a unique opportunity to get outside the Christian bubble in which we are many times confined. I want to use this opportunity to share His good news and my testimony with anyone He brings across my path.

2. This latest challenge of living through and dealing with the aftermath of a house fire is a continuation of my testimony. God continues to give me a ministry and a platform that not only provides for my physical needs, but also opens the door for me to reach thousands of people. However, this is the holiday season and many organizations are hosting internal events and are not looking for a speaker at this time. This opens the door for me to do more Home Gatherings. Home Gatherings are dessert nights, holiday parties, small groups, and Christmas parties in which the host gathers their friends and family and allows me to come in and share my story in a more intimate setting. This event costs the host nothing; we simply ask that the guests pray about making a contribution to Empowered Ministries. Please pray about hosting a Home Gathering over the next few months.

3. For those who would like to help from a financial standpoint, you can make contributions to Empowered Ministries online at http://christophercoleman.net/how-to-support-us/make-a-donation/ or via mail at:

Empowered Ministries

PO Box 1632

Kennesaw, GA 30156

4. My personal needs are simple. As I wait for the insurance settlement and begin to replace material necessities, I gratefully welcome gift cards to Target, Kohl’s, Bed Bath and Beyond, etc.

 

I want to thank everyone so much for your willingness to jump in and play a role in this chapter of my story as it unfolds. Together, we can continue to focus on bringing God glory and proving that He is able!

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Unconfined Life Challenge

Watch the video by clicking on the picture!!

Ever since I finished my second book, something has not been quite right. I wasn’t content with where I was. I couldn’t put my finger on exactly what the problem was, but now I can. You see, I realized that I am very close to living the life I did not want to live. That is, a confined life. I am close to becoming Christopher Coleman the comfortable, complacent Christian, confined by his success.

I live in a city that diminishes the world community into my neighborhood, my church, or those on my same social status. I find myself reciting the same old sayings and cliches that come off the pulpit from one Christian to another Christian, rather than sharing the convictions and revelations that I have gotten from my own time with the Lord. I am doing things that are safe and right for me rather than being the man who stepped out on faith and moved several hundred miles away just because he believed God told him to do so. Meeting people who are different from me has become a ministry assignment rather than just a way of life. The perspective of the majority rather than the conviction of being a Christian shapes my worldview and perspective.

Though I have overcome my disability, I still find myself socially, spiritually, and physically confined. I am becoming like the people that admired me so much for being different. This reality poses a challenge for me.

After 39 years of trying to communicate to the world that you can live an unconfined life, I have decided its time to prove it.

Today, I’m implementing the Unconfined Life Challenge. There are 40 things that I am committing to do by the time I am 40 to prove that we all can live an unconfined life, socially, spiritually, and physically.

My “40 by 40 Unconfined Life Challenges”

  1. Skydiving (watch the video here)
  2. Two days of hardcore camping (no wheelchair)
  3. Share with my supporters 40 things that the Lord is teaching me in my personal quiet time
  4. Begin speaking and doing international mission work
  5. Sell my house and move into a diversified community that gives me the avenues to share my faith with people of many backgrounds
  6. Provide 40 wheelchairs through the free wheelchair mission
  7. Master 6 to 10 self-defense moves
  8. Publish “No Longer Confined” through a nationwide publisher
  9. Share my life story with 10 homeless people over a warm meal
  10. Caving
  11. Spread social awareness on discrimination in the workplace towards individuals with disabilities
  12. Read two books that will challenge my Christian view
  13. Wheelchair snow-skiing in the Rockies
  14. Spread social awareness on companies that exploit people globally
  15. Learn how to say “You can live an unconfined life with Jesus” in five different languages
  16. Whitewater rafting
  17. Begin writing my third book
  18. Commit 40 pieces of scripture to memory
  19. Leg press 400 lbs.
  20. Get an article published in a magazine on the rights of disabled people
  21. Sing karaoke in a public place (knowing that I have an awful voice to sing vocally)
  22. Drive an all-terrain vehicle
  23. Get sponsorships for one individual who became disabled to work through 6 months of life coaching with me
  24. 40 hours of intentional prayer
  25. Purchase an accessible hand bicycle and ride 2 miles (half century)
  26. Speak pro bono at 5 schools serving underprivileged children
  27. For 1 week, pray for 10 seconds before communicating
  28. Rock climbing
  29. Read two books that will challenge my worldview
  30. Become more transparent with the struggles and victories associated with a life with a disability so others may grow in their relationship with Christ
  31. Tubing

Yep, that’s only 31 because 4 of these challenges will be a complete spur-of-the-moment surprise, and the other 5 will be issued by my followers on Facebook, Twitter, and from my blog readers.

For these challenges to be a success, I need you — my friends and family — to be involved. Some of the challenges will require group participation and set-up crew, some will require financial support, while others will only require input and feedback.

I invite you to participate in and to follow me down an unconfined path. To be a part of the set-up crew or participate in the events, email me at christopher@christophercoleman.net.  To contribute to the general funding of the Unconfined Life Challenge, CLICK HERE.

This will be an exciting and life-changing year!

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A Life with Purpose


 

Dear Family and Friends,

 

Happy fall! I hope you have received my evite to attend my 39th birthday party on Oct. 20th at North Metro Church from 4pm – 7pm. I truly hope to see you there. If you have not received an invitation and would like to attend please RSVP Trisha White at coolmomof4boy@gmail.com. I am confident that this birthday party will be like no other birthday party you have ever attended. We have some special surprises for everyone that comes. I am also revealing what I call my Unconfined Life Challenge for the next year. This is 40 things I want to accomplish by the time I am 40. The first of the 40 will also be revealed and accomplished at the party. Instead of gifts I asking that everyone make a donation to Empowered Ministries. 

 

You may have noticed for the last three years I have used my birthday as a fundraiser for Empowered Ministries. I do this because God has chosen Empowered Ministries to bring meaning to my life. Because of my calling, my life is not consumed with overcoming the challenges of my disability; I live year to year for a purpose. That purpose has converted years of pain, seizures, and other complications to years of victories and testimonies of His mercy and grace. Very few people who live with a disability get to see the purpose behind it. It is for that reason I want to year after year use my birthday as a reason to celebrate and honor God and the ministry that He called me to.

 

The vision of Empowered Ministries is to use a disability to display God’s ability. Honoring and supporting that vision will always be the best birthday gift anyone can ever give me. So I do ask in lieu of gifts, even it was going to simply be a $.99 birthday card, donate to Empowered Ministries. You can make your donation online by Clicking Here. And of course any donation you make will be tax deductible at the end of the year. Again I hope to see you on Oct. 20th at the party.

 

Meanwhile have a blessed and wonderful two weeks.

 

Christopher D. Coleman

 

P.S. – You too can use a special event to support the vision of Empowered Ministries and the calling that He has put on my life. To learn more Click Here.

 

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Are you really making a difference for Christ if you are avoiding conflict?

Dare to Disagree

You may have noticed that my last blog, Does your Decision on the Affordable Care Act Reflect your Decision to Follow Christ, and the Shane Claiborne article, “What if Jesus Meant All that Stuff”, that I shared on Facebook on August 29th, have been a little controversial. It is not my intent to make it controversial as much as I want it to be thought-provoking. I believe as Christians we sometimes get content in our own way of thinking, and anybody who thinks outside of that box is not one of us and, therefore, doesn’t have a relationship with Christ. I believe there are some fundamental principles that we all should have if we want to follow Christ, but God has given us the ability to think and reason so that we would not become religious in our way of life. I believe there is nothing wrong with questioning what you have been told if you are seeking the answers to know the truth and not prove what you believe or want. Sometimes the answers we are looking for can only be found in challenging what we have been told and dealing with disagreement and conflict.

 

At this point, you can dismiss everything I say as self-motivated rhetoric. But let me ask you this: What would my life have been like if my family chose to accept the prediction the doctors gave me based on my birth? They said that I would never move, walk, or talk. I would be a complete vegetable for the rest of my life. And they classified me as mentally disabled. This grim diagnosis came from their years of education and experience. If my family did not disagree with the diagnosis, I would not even be able to write this post I am writing today. Change happens when we play the devil’s advocate and allow someone to reverse the role on us. Truth is found when a possible solution is investigated and challenged. I think we lose a lot of opportunity to share Christ because it requires us to understand the atheist point of view and still be able to articulate the Truth of God. I want to share with you a video I saw on TED called Dare to Disagree.

“…it requires that we find people who are very different from ourselves. That means we have to resist the neurobiological drive, which means that we really prefer people mostly like ourselves, and it means we have to seek out people with different backgrounds, different disciplines, different ways of thinking and different experience, and find ways to engage with them. That requires a lot of patience and a lot of energy. And the more I’ve thought about this, the more I think, really, that that’s a kind of love. Because you simply won’t commit that kind of energy and time if you don’t really care.” -Margaret Heffernan

Check out this video and let me know what you think. http://www.ted.com/talks/margaret_heffernan_dare_to_disagree.html

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Does your decision on the Affordable Care Act reflect your decision to follow Christ?

The Affordable Care Act Becomes Law

Dear Friends and Family,

Please pray for me, as I am experiencing more pain and consequently more seizures. Many are unaware that my back, legs, muscles, and joints have been in constant pain for the last 10-15 years. I described it to a friend as being in the middle of your last workout rep and freezing it right there. My muscles are so tight and are getting tighter each day. Recently, I have reached my pain threshold and as a result went into seizures, which is a whole new level of complications, as you may know.

My doctor says it is very important that I start working and stretching out my muscles to relieve the tension. Right now, he feels that physical therapy is and will be a medical necessity for the rest of my life. Unfortunately, I don’t have insurance. With a disability, the cost of insurance is astronomical. I do have Medicaid; however, they have strict policies that prevent me from getting physical therapy. I believe these strict policies are in place to narrow the opportunity for people to take advantage of the system. Those strict policies affect millions of people like myself who legitimately need this program.

A friend of mine and I were talking about this same issue. He said, “Someone like you deserves, and legitimately needs, medical assistance. But there are so many people who abuse the system. We have to stop that. That is the reason why our country is in so much debt.” First, lets be honest: the cost of providing Medicaid is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the amount of national debt that we have. Also, unfortunately, the Medicaid system is not individualized. People who are administering the program do not have the time or resources to devote to gathering data on every person that applies for the program. Therefore, the strict policy affects everyone regardless of their individual medical needs.

I, along with hundreds of thousands of other people, will always have a need for a wheelchair, a personal assistant, and added medical expenses far more than the average person. If I were to look at my situation from a biblical perspective, I could come to the conclusion that it is the church’s responsibility to aid me in my medical needs. But, I can’t expect the church to pay my necessary $120,000 annual Medicaid expenses for the rest of my life. They have their own million-dollar budgets and debt. Not only that, as I criss-crossed the country from church-to-church over the past 12 ½ years, I know for a fact that churches are reaching out to every group other than the disabled. To make matters worse, Christians allow their political views to dictate their Christian responsibility and therefore jeopardize what little help people with disabilities are receiving.

I’m sorry if that seems a bit harsh, but that is the reality of the situation. Think about Joni Eareckson Tada, David Rings, and me, Christopher Coleman; I guarantee we all rely heavily on health care benefits to enable us to physically go out there and share Jesus and His sufficiency in the midst of a disability. There is no other way we can accomplish this financially without that support.

So many people have tried to sway me to their views on the Affordable Care Act. In other words, they want me to shoot myself in the foot. For them it is a simple decision not to pay a few extra dollars in taxes; for me, it is a choice of whether or not I am going to support a program that can help me fight the battle of living with Cerebral Palsy. Someone told me that most people don’t see the other side of the coin. We don’t think about the millions of other people that legitimately need healthcare. We only see the thousands that may be taking advantage of it, and therefore we react out of our ignorance. I hope that is the case. I hope it is ignorance and not greed and selfishness. If it is ignorance, we all know it is dangerous to drive a car with a blind spot. The result of being hit blindsided is catastrophic for all who are around.

This blog is not an attempt to sway your political views, a call for financial support, or a plea for pity about my situation. I am asking you to pray for me, your friend, as well as the millions of other people in my situation or worse that are not receiving the necessary medical assistance that we need. After sharing my story as your Christian brother, I would hope that would accept the challenges in the following questions:

  1. Should we not take the Bible literally when it comes to storing up treasures in heaven and not on earth?
  2. As Christians are we choosing to look over Matthew 25: 34-40 and move forward in our selfish agendas?
  3. Did not Jesus provide His blood to the whole world knowing that some would abuse it and take it for granted?
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Paul Lived an Unconfined Life in Prison

 

Over the years God has transformed my vision from using a disability to display His ability to challenging people to define their wheelchairs in life. Today the vision that I carry in my heart day to day is to help people see that they too can live an unconfined life. What is an unconfined life? For me its  breaking free for whatever binds you emotionally, physically, and spiritually. You can be emotionally bound by fear, doubts, and insecurities. You can physically bound through your health, circumstances, or relationships. Or, you can be spiritually bound by not knowing Christ as your Lord and Savior or being dedicated to a denomination or a religious belief rather then Christ.

 

People become confined by fears, doubts and insecurities. They allow personal barriers, unfortunate situations, as well as self-inflicted bondage to stop them from moving forward in life; therefore, not reaching their full potential.

 

An unconfined life is a life lived beyond circumstances. It is personal victory achieved through pursuing faith, God-given potential, purpose, and external and internal freedom. A person able to analyze their past, embrace their present, and visualize their future is on a path towards Living an Unconfined life.

 

An unconfined life challenges people to transform their victim mindset into a victorious mindset. The key to liberating a confined person is to help them imagine and build a life based on faith. Through faith in Christ we call can rejoice and find satisfaction in who we are. I believe Paul was living an unconfined life in prison when he wrote these words.

 

Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”  -Philippians 4:10-13 (NASB)

 

Paul understood that he lived for a God that was greater, bigger, and stronger than his physical, emotional, and spiritual state. An unconfined life to me is living my life from a wheelchair not in a wheelchair. Achieving this displays God’s ability through my disability. Ask yourself, how is God displayed in your life? What things are holding you back? Are you living an unconfined life?

 

 

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What Should You do with the Person that Disappoints you the Most

The person the disappoints you the most may be in your life to test your faith. Not your faith in them, but your faith in Christ. Many times people disappoint us in life because they do not live up to our expectations, our standards, and did not respond or act the way we think they should in a certain situation. At that point, we often say the following: “I’m done with you.”

 

What we tend to forget is that God is not done with them. We are all living in a process of transformation. God is refining every one of us to become who He designed us to be. We must keep that in mind when we say, “I’m done with you.” It not only communicates something to that person, it also communicates something to God when we give up on the people He died for. I think, in that moment, God may say to us, “Where is your faith?”

 

So what do you do with the person that disappoints you the most?

“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” Philippians 1:6

 

The reason most people become disappointed in other people is because we put too much faith in that individual. When we begin to step back and put faith in God to complete whatever He started in the people in our lives, then our level of disappointment will dramatically decrease. We begin to understand that person is a work in progress, just like us!

My challenge to you is to go to that person and let them know that no matter how disappointed you are with them, you still believe that God started a good work in them the day that they were born, and you believe that He will continue that work until the day that He comes.

 

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