Do You Read?

I can remember that day when I was a sophomore in high school and Mrs. Musgrove called me into the hallway.  She was my English teacher and somehow had a hunch that I didn’t read the classic novel she assigned. It could have possibly been my quiz grade that gave it away. I guess the “Cliff Notes” didn’t help much that time. There was another person out there with me, who shall remain nameless, as my partner in crime.  Love ya DW!!  She looked me dead in the eye and asked,

“Chris, do you even like to read?”

I looked her back dead in the eyes and revealed information that didn’t seem to be front page news,

“No ma’am.”

I also remember one of my best friends coming back from his first semester of college at Southwestern University and revealing to me his theory on being smart.  He was and still is one of the smartest guys I’ve ever known.  CB simply said,

“I am around smart people all the time.  I know how to get smarter.  If you want to be smarter…….read.”

At that point, I pretty much committed to be dumb the rest of my life.  The price to pay according to CB’s theory, was just too much for me take on.  Back then, and up until about 6 months ago, reading was just not my cup of tea.  I gave it a try a few times, but found myself daydreaming 2 pages into it or falling asleep after 2 paragraphs. If the book had a movie, whip out the popcorn, and count me in.  But, anything over 10 pages was going to sit on the shelf and collect some dust.  I even tried reading some cool sports books and biographies about coaches I admired….no dice.  Then I was reading a blog from a guy that I really admire (his posts are only a couple of paragraphs each) and saw this. It completely changed my theory and motivation for reading.  I have now become an avid reader and have seen some big benefits.  Here are a few:

1. My relationship with Jesus has grown dramatically. Reading has shown me so much about being a committed follower and continues to stretch my faith.

2. My relationship with my wife has grown dramatically.  One of the first books I read was on marriage.  I learned so much about God’s design for marriage and how Satan will attack it in every way possible.  As I read that and shared bit and pieces with Tracy, I immediately began to see improvements in our marriage.  As I keep reading, I can see Tracy admiring me and my leadership more and more.  Not that I don’t have a LONG way to go, but I do see improvement.

3.  Reading has opened numerous opportunities for conversation with other people. Tracy and I have been able to minister to many people in many different situations with the conversation starter being something about a recent book that I had read.  I don’t know if it has made me smarter, but it has made me more diverse in my ability to relate to people.

Thanks Kevin for your wisdom and insight!

Here are a couple of my reads that have had impact.

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Life in the Mission Field…

Very soon, our lives as we have known them for about 10 years, are coming to an end.  The excitement of giving our lives to full time ministry is really kicking in.  We are blessed to be a part of an organization that loves the Lord, loves people, loves us, loves orphans, and loves Haiti!  As we begin our new journey, there are so many things that we are thinking and praying about.  One of the biggest differences that we will experience as a family is financially.  As we have mentioned before, our  position with myLIFE speaks is self funded.  That means that we are responsible for raising the money needed to fulfill the opportunities that God has placed before us.  Many generous people have donated already, and we are incredibly grateful.  We are excited about partnering with people and giving them the opportunity to be involved in something beautiful…something God ordained and amazing!  If you feel led, please click the picture/link below and it will take you to the myLIFEspeaks website where you will be able to make a donation toward the work that we will be doing here in the states and in Haiti.  Thank you so much, especially for your prayers and for your encouraging words.  Remember, all donations are tax deductible and 100% of the donation goes directly to our family as we embark on this incredible adventure.  Love you all!

Word of God Speak

I often times wondered how people like Moses, Abraham, Daniel, and Noah heard the voice of God.  As I was reading one day, I realized that in the Old Testament, God was with His people. In the New Testament, after Jesus’s resurrection, those that choose to follow Jesus, have the Holy Spirit in us.  Wow!! These words struck me.  They forced me to look at how the Holy Spirit speaks to me.

I am not a good singer at all (unless I’m by myself).  I don’t play an instrument (I’ve taken a shot a few….it ain’t happening). Needless to say, music is not one of my spiritual gifts.  However, I love listening to music, and more importantly, I love listening to the words.  God has a way of leading me, teaching me, lifting me, reassuring me, revealing to me, and even convicting me through the avenue of a song.  Times of great joy, great indecision, great tragedy, and great triumph have often times been heightened with a great tune.

Below you will find a the words of a song by Steven Curtis Chapman that have recently been used to reassure me.  It’s an oldy but a goody!!!

For The Sake of The Call
Empty nets lying there at the waters edge
Told a story that few could believe or none could explain
How some crazy fishermen agreed to go where Jesus lead
With no thought for what they would gain
For Jesus had called them by name and they answered

We will abandon it all for the sake of the call
No other reason at all but the sake of the call
Wholly devoted to live and to die

Not for the sake of a creed or a cause
Not for a dream or a promise
Simply because it is Jesus who calls
And if we believe we’ll obey
And we’ll answer

Oh we will abandon it all for the sake of the call
No other reason at all but the sake of the call
Wholly devoted to live and to die for the sake of the call, yeah
For the sake of the call, yeah oh

SO, I’m interested….what are some things that God uses to “speak” to you?

A Trip to Remember…

I went to Haiti last week. This trip might have been the most remarkable one that I have experienced to this day.  I desperately missed my sweet husband and darling kids, but my time in Haiti was treasured.  I have never felt so torn between two worlds in my life…my heart is split in two.  I was able to spend some much needed, quality time with our three sweet orphans living at the My LIFE Speaks house.  Malachi, J, and Stephen spoke to my heart in incredible ways while I was there.  They have a past…they have a story…and it is impacting me.  It is impacting who I am, who I want to be, and where God is leading me.  I cannot talk about these boys without feeling joy, without hearing their sweet voices, and seeing their sweet smiles.  Their eyes shine with the love of Christ even though they understand a certain pain and tragedy that I am unfamiliar with.  I cannot talk about them without telling you that each of them has been abandoned by their earthly parents…one found in a ditch by a fireman, one found wandering the streets after the earthquake by an elderly woman, and one found in a garden as a newborn by a young woman.  They each have come separately to the My LIFE Speaks house, yet God has woven their lives together so intricately already.  They are brothers.  They share completely different pasts, but a strong bond of love and understanding.  J was always the first one to divide his snack up so that each of the children would have food.  Malachi could light up the whole village with his adorable smile and fancy dance moves.  And Stephen….well, all you have to do is meet him once, and you will be head over heels in love.  I have so much to learn from these young boys…in so many ways, they ‘get it’. I want to be like them…I want God to use them to teach me lessons that I have never learned.  Lessons of selflessness, joy, generosity, faith, kindness, and so many more.  My week with them is forever etched on my heart.

My time with them came to an end and I came back to the States.  It felt amazing to feel my husband’s arms around me and five kids hanging all over me. But I’m just struggling with one thing…

If home is where the heart is…then where is home?