Who Can You Build Up?

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My heart breaks for the lives of young men and women that are treated unfairly and given up on. I believe everyone deserves a chance to be able to overcome the struggles and battles they face. Everyone has a story and for a brief moment, I want you to hear a quick story from my life.

Many people see the work I do now and celebrate what has transpired over the course of my life but check this out… If my coaches in high school/college would have done a background check on my teenage years they would have discovered, I had 3 MIP’s, sold weed, smoked weed, skipped school, had poor grades at some point (1.2 GPA) and got drunk they would not have wanted me to a part of their program.

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It was very easy to find faults in my character, to display my weaknesses and hold me to the standard of my choices. However, the few people that were close to me were able to see I was just a hurting, lost and broken teen being influenced by my surroundings and making decisions based off of my broken emotions. They saw that I was a teen that needed guidance, love, support, encouragement and someone to believe in me.

If I was never loved through the wrongs I committed and the poor choices I made, then I would have never had the opportunity to earn a high school degree, two college degrees, soon to be master’s degree, earn a Division 1 basketball scholarship, become an NAIA All – American basketball player, married and be able to become a student pastor.

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I share this because when a person hits a low in life, people are quick to point, judge, condemn and beat down. Before you go and label someone as a thug, gangster, low-life and as someone that may not ever change, first learn their story and understand why they are making poor decisions.

Without people believing in me and of course God, I would either be dead or in prison. Based on the choices I was making as a teen, I was supposed to be apart and given up to the system.

God can use you to make a difference in someone’s life. There are people out there, young men and women that need to be heard; they need someone to listen, love them, support them, challenge them, and help them process how to make it in this world.

My questions for you:

Will you be the person you needed when you were at your weakest and prayed for someone to help you?

Who can you build up?

Who is the person in your life that you can walk alongside, encourage and help grow?

Who is the teen that needs your love and support?

Who can you mentor and not give up on?

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P.S. Think about these words, pray on them and remember: Be the change the world needs to see and as you do this; one day you will look up and realize, you influenced a lost teen to turn their life around to be a difference maker in this world.

In love,

J. Scott Samarco

Sayings Jesus Never Said

There are many sayings out there that “Christians” tend to use that aren’t true. These sayings are misinterpretations of Scripture and a misunderstanding of God. I hope this post clears some of these sayings up. Check them out:

“God gives his hardest battles to his toughest soldiers.” Where did this come from? It’s not true. We all have hard battles. Life is hard. Who decides who God’s “toughest soldiers” are and why would God handpick certain individuals to carry the hard battles? Will certain people in this world not carry hard battles?

“God will never give you more than you can bear.” Things Jesus never said. There are going to be in fact many burdens that you cannot bear. There are going to be many storms in life that completely break you, make you feel desperate and of no power to move forward. It’s not about what you can bear anyways. May we get to a point that we begin to say, “I have some burdens that I cannot bear and I need to hand them over to You Lord.” – See Matthew 11:28-30

The sufferings that we face are not apart from God nor were we created to suffer alone. Our sufferings help us encounter God and place our hope and trust in Him.

Continue reading

Don’t Settle In Your Set Back

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I know you thought your dream would happen easy. You’ve been pushing hard to take your dreams to the next level. You have been making connections, being consistent, staying committed but some how life is not giving you back the same energy. 

I’ve been there. I have been in the place where it felt like I was doing everything I needed to be doing to be successful, but yet and still nothing was happening.I have even been to the point where I exhausted all of my resources and I was left with exhausted energy. 

Have you ever been there? Are you there now? My friend, what do you do when you are doing what you believe needs to be done, but nothing is changing? Do you give up? Do you say forget it? Continue reading

Last Year in My 20’s!

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Birthday blogs are cool. I don’t do them every year but I thought, hey this is my last year in my 20’s, surely I have something to say…

Recently, I was hanging out with some friends at a cool rooftop spot with some dope food. We began to talk about leaving our 20’s and what it was like for each of them. One shared, how he broke down and cried. (This made me scared. Ha!) As you can imagine, the other friend shared how it was just another day. I love hearing two ends of the spectrum, especially when both spectrums can be viewed as being extreme.

Although I am not crying, well at least while I am writing this I’m not, I am truly thankful to be alive another year. Despite some of my life goals not being accomplished yet, I believe God has me exactly where I need to be. With this perspective, I can keep living life to the best of my ability.

I want to share a few thoughts about my 20’s. Check them out below! 

Here are 29  thoughts for my 29th birthday:

  1. I am almost done with my 20’s which means, I have experienced some life. Yes, wisdom!
  2. Be optimistic. There is so much opportunity in your 20’s. Your life is not over because you’re not married, have a house, dream car, etc…
  3. Post college can be rough! Searching for my identity, calling and what I was suppose to do post basketball. ahhhhh!!
  4. Be authentic. Be real. Be you. Don’t try to copy someone else and don’t chase someone else’s dream. Go after your God driven dreams!
  5. Don’t rush love. So often we want to force relationships with people that don’t need to be in our life.
  6. Spend a lot of time alone. Singleness is a gift my friend. Utilize it. Grow. Learn who you are. Save money!
  7. Travel. Explore the world. The most meaningful experiences happen when you travel.
  8. Read. Invest in your mind and education. Every new book you read, opens a new door.
  9. Cry. Too often, we hold in our anger and frustration or we take it out in the wrong way. It’s okay to lay on the ground and cry because you are frustrated with how life is going. I did!
  10. Grow with God! Ask those questions about the Bible and faith that you always wanted to know. 2011 was my quest to truly understand the Bible and Christianity. This was 6 years after God saving me.
  11. Give back. Invest your time in your community, spend time with youth, be a mentor or a coach. I will forever be grateful for the opportunities I have spent with youth.
  12. Celebrate your friend’s success. Sometimes we get sour when one of our friends graduate college, write a book or land their dream job. Your time is coming so in the meantime be happy for your friends!
  13. Attend weddings and actually be and look happy. A lot of your high school/college friends will be getting hitched. Help your friends celebrate their special day. Go to the reception and help them turn up!
  14. Take time on making babies. Okay, this is my personal opinion. Kids are a major blessing to this world but I wanted to enjoy my 20’s kid free. One more year left. Fingers crossed! Ha
  15. Exercise! Stay consistent! Trust me, once collegiate/professional sports are over, the lbs will come if you are not consistently working out.
  16. Eat! Ha, you like how I added this one after exercise. Try out different food from different ethnic groups. Step away from the fast food. 🙂
  17. Write. Journal. Start a blog. Keep a record of great moments and bad moments. It always helps me to look back and reflect.
  18. Pray. If you are a believer, spend a lot of time talking with God. Me and God had to duke (fight) it out! God and I had some amazing, tough and challenging conversations through my 20’s. I am thankful for each conversation.
  19. Step out your comfort zone. Do something you are afraid to do. Move to a new state, or two. 🙂 Once you do, you will slap yourself afterwards and realize it wasn’t that scary after all.
  20. Love. Love every person in your life unconditionally.
  21. Forgive. Your heart will be broken. You will hurt people. Learn. Let go. Don’t hold grudges or regrets.
  22. Eat chocolate. Chocolate does the body, mind and soul good. It also cures bad days. Just saying…
  23. Drink coffee. 2012, I discovered a hidden love for coffee. My favorite drink is a cafe mocha with foam and an extra shot of expresso!
  24. Find patience. Your time in your 20’s is a long journey. Don’t try to become an overnight success.
  25. Progress not perfection. Give your all but ultimately understand your goal is to enjoy the process while making progress.
  26. Give yourself grace. You will make mistakes and you will make poor decisions. Learn from your choices and love yourself enough to move forward.
  27. Date/Court. Do this in healthy ways and be intentional about who you give your time and energy too. Oh yeah, money too. Dating is expensive. Isn’t it funny how, women get all the free dates and food? 🙂 
  28. Don’t do life alone. Find accountability, encouragement and support. You need a community that you can do life with.
  29. Celebrate! You need to celebrate your small victories. Remember to write your celebrations down so when you get discouraged, you can go back and get recharged!

Whew! I hope you enjoyed that list. 20’s are truly a great time. To me, much of life is about perspective, learning and growing. As you can see, the past 9 years of my life, I have done that!

I appreciate you. Let’s continue to get better together! Real talk! < – (Do people still say this? Ha! I did in my early 20’s!!) 

P.S. August 21st is my birthday. I do accept gifts….

Peace out fam! Share this with a friend!

Don’t Be So Quick to Judge

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My heart breaks for the lives of people that are treated unfair. Everyone deserves a chance. Everyone has struggles and battles. Everyone has a story and for a brief moment, I want you to hear a quick story from my life.

Many people see the work I do now and celebrate what has transpired over the course of my life, but check this out… If my coaches in high school/college would have done a background check on my teenage years, they would have discovered I had 3 MIP’s, sold weed, smoked weed, skipped school, had poor grades at some point (1.2 gpa) and got drunk; they would not have wanted me to a part of their program.

Back in high school at 16 years old.

Back in high school at 16 years old.

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A 17 yr old trying to find his way

It was very easy to find faults in my character, to display my weaknesses, and hold me to the standard of my choices. However, my coaches were able to see that I was just a hurting, lost, and broken teen being influenced by my surroundings, and making decisions based off of my broken emotions. My coaches saw that I was a teen in need of guidance, love, support, and encouragement.

I needed someone to believe in me!

If I was always pushed down, punished and given up on for the wrongs I committed and the poor choices I made, then I would not been able to have the opportunity to learn, grow, overcome my mistakes, earn a high school degree, two college degrees, soon to be master’s degree, become an All – American basketball player, get married and eventually become a pastor.

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I share this because when tragedy strikes, people are quick to point out the wrong someone has done, as a means to justify that an individual deserves poor treatment. Before you go and label someone a thug, gangster, low-life and a nobody, first learn their story and understand why they are making/made poor decisions.

Here is what you can do:

You have to believe you can make a difference. Change starts with you stepping up to do your part in society, in your household, and in your community. There are people out there that need to be heard, teenagers that need someone to listen to them, and love them. Will you be that person?

I should have been another statistic–lost to the system. I should be dead or in prison. I shouldn’t be where I am today. But God!

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P.S. Be the change the world needs to see and as you do this; one day you will look up and realize, you influenced a lost teen to turn their life around to be a difference maker in this world.

In love,

Pastor J. Scott Samarco

*Orginally posted on Smiley Speaks. *

 

Life.

“Out of your pain births a purpose. Out of your misery births a ministry. Don’t be so quick to run from the struggle.” – J. Scott Samarco

The struggle is real. We must confront reality. Not in a sense to make ourselves feel inadequate or unworthy but more so to understand that there is a battle and this battle is real.

We have to continue to push, fight, and battle to overcome adversity. Adversity is interesting. So often, adversity is viewed as being negative. To me, adversity is a tool to help us grow in character and in stature. Being able to take on adversity allows for the human mind to be stretched and challenged. This stretching, these challenges, help us gain a perspective that not everything in life is easy. I’ve heard many people say, “if it was easy, everyone would be doing.” Right!?

Life has a special meaning toward those individuals who understand their purpose. Cliche, true, whatever, I like it. For those who do not understand their purpose, life tends to constantly be challenging. More so mentally than anything. When one does not know or understand why they are here on this earth, they begin to question their value and what they can bring to the table. This questioning, usually leads to self esteem dropping, lack of self worth and a lack of confidence.

There are no quick fixes or points that say, if you do it this way everything will work itself out. I believe the main focus behind my thought process here is understanding we are all in a process. This process that we are in, is guiding us and helping us discover just what it is we should be doing. A constant message I share with myself, is to continue to embrace the process, to not let up, to work through the frustrations and to not beat myself up over my shortcomings.

I cannot be perfect. I can however, strive for perfection. Even with my striving I have to understand that I will fall short. With falling short, I know there are many lessons to be learned. These lessons help me stay in reality, all while pushing to be better daily.

I’m thankful for my journey in life and I know every pain I’ve ever felt, every misery I’ve battled through, it is all being used to shape and sharpen my calling in life. Whether we figure this out in our twenties or late fifties, we each have a role to play in this world.

God wants to use us for a purpose. Believing this is a great starting point. Happy 6 months!