Hello Forever Family!
My name is Michael O’Rielly and I am truly grateful to be a part of the Production Team, as well as all that God is doing through Morning Star. I’m a native son of Oregon, though a military and defense contracting career ultimately ended up calling me elsewhere for a time. While not an exhaustive list, I ended up spending about a decade and a half of my adult life in Arizona, California & abroad on multiple deployments. In 2017, I made the decision to return to Oregon, at a highly tempestuous time in my life. It was upon that return that I began attending Morning Star. At first, by attending Celebrate Recovery on Tuesday nights and then eventually making Morning Star my Church home as well.
While not having been raised in the Church, in my late teens at an evening youth basketball outreach, I was lead in my first public profession of faith in Christ (Romans 10:9). I was fully aware of my need of a Savior at this point in my life, however, true transformational change wouldn’t start to occur until my mid-twenties. Over those faith-expanding and joy-filled years I began to believe I was being called to ministry. But like the seed that fell on rocky places, or among the thorns (Parable of the Sower, Matthew 13:5-7, 20-22) I didn’t listen to the call. Instead, I listened to the whispered lies and lure of all the world had to offer and was telling me I should want. Naturally, I told God choosing my own path wouldn’t change my relationship with Him, and for a time that seemed true enough.
I achieved most of what the world told me to want too, success, a high-paying career as that defense contractor I mentioned, building a new house in my twenties, you name it. Over time though, because things were going so well and I was ultimately in control of my life, or so I thought. I in large part began to forget about having real relationship with God. Life became about finding happiness in the next possession, promotion, pay raise, new employer, or in the next town over (Matthew 6:19-21). As the realization all of these “things” were returning devoid of any meaning or purpose, my life began to spiral out of control (Ecclesiastes 1:2). Several unresolved major traumas from my childhood, the tempo of my career, and a couple more combat deployments, as well as onset health issues deriving from those deployments amongst other things, lead to full-blown Post Traumatic Stress and chronic burnout.
In closing, and looking back on it now, I’ve come to the stark realization that while I had acknowledged my enormous need for a Savior all those years ago, I had overlooked the Lord part of “Lord & Savior.” Especially painful, is the realization that I choose to continue to live so callously given the gift that God had paid for and given me. Over the last several years I’ve often found myself wondering how God would ultimately end up using my varied experiences. From childhood trauma, to combat, piloting, instructing, public speaking to now being a part of the Production Team and pursuing a degree in Christian Counseling.
The reality is I still don’t have a clear picture or sure answer, only God does (Psalm 139:16). I’m doing my best to take it one day at a time at this point. Trying, and often failing, not to live in the past (Philippians 3:13), or being too anxious about the future (Matthew 6:34), but doing my best to be mindful of where God has me today. To do my best for the Church (2 Timothy 2:15), to draw ever closer to God (James 4:8), and to relinquish control and trust in Him completely (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Ultimately, my heart is for hurting and broken people, because I too am a hurting and broken person. While I tend to be very quiet, reserved, and guarded until you get to know me, there is nothing I love more than the opportunity to have genuine relationships, connections, and conversations with people who aren’t afraid to be transparent, honest, and vulnerable. Especially when those conversations turn to Jesus, our best and only hope!
I look forward to continuing to learn from and grow with all of you as we strive to live out a Jesus-first life.